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Full text of "Incidents of pioneer days at Guelph and the County of Bruce"

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DAVID KENNEDY, SR. 



PIONEER DAYS 



INCIDENTS 



OF 



PIONEER DAYS 



AT 



GUELPH 



AND THE COUNTY OF BRUCE 



BY 



DAVID KENNEDY, SR. 



TORONTO 

1903 



Entered according to Act of the Parliament of Canada, in the year one 
thousand nine hundred and three, by DAVID KENNEDY, Sr., at the Depart 
ment of Agriculture. 



TO THE READER 

The writer of this book would call 
your attention to three things : first, 
the contents are actual experiences and 
conditions which are in no way colored 
or embellished ; second that there is no 
pretense to literary excellence, and third, 
that it is written that the reader may 
see the great strides of progress made 
in one generation and not forget the 
pioneer days of our great country. 





WAS born in the Mansion House 
of Craig, in the Parish of Colo- 
monell, Ayrshire, Scotland, upon 
the 2oth day of April, in the year 
1828. My father, John Ken 
nedy, was the youngest son of 
David Kennedy, Laird of Craig, which estate is 
entail. 

My mother, Sarah Caldwell, was the youngest 
daughter of a large farmer, and was born on the 
Farm of Morriston, in the Parish of Kirkswald, 
Ayrshire. They were married upon the <>7th 
day of December, in the year 1825. 

My father and mother united the names of 
their birth places, and called our homestead in 
the Paisley Block, Guelph, Craigmorriston, in 
which place I resided for about fifty-five years. 

Emigration and Ultimate Settlement at Guelph 

My father and mother, with my oldest brother, 
William, and m,y self, emigrated to Canada when 
I was one year old, leaving Scotland in the 
month of April and in the year 1829, and after a 
long and tedious voyage in a small vessel, ar 
rived in Montreal during the summer. My 



father did not like the appearance of the coun 
try and thought of returning to Scotland at 
once, and going as far down the St. Lawrence 
River as the town of Berthier, remained there 
during the winter, and while staying there heard 
very favorable accounts of the Canada Company 
lands around Guelph. This caused him to 
change his mind, and in the spring of 1830 he 
again turned his face westward, and after a slow 
journey, arrived at Guelph during the summer. 
Guelph at that time was nearly all forest, and 
had only a few log houses, for it had only been 
surveyed in the spring of 1827. 

My father, after a short residence at Guelph, 
selected a lot in what was afterwards known as 
the Paisley Block, in Guelph Township, near 
what is now the City of Guelph. My father 
never had much experience in the way of labor, 
and especially in clearing up of land, so that 
very little progress was made for many years, 
and not until we boys began to grow up, and 
many and great were the hardships endured at 
that time by my mother and her little boys, for 
my brother, John Caldwell, was born during our 
stay in Guelph, in Nov., 1830. As time passed 
on, the number of the family increased to nine, 
the five oldest being boys and the four youngest 
girls. All grew up to manhood and womanhood 
but one little girl. In the course of a few 
years, when we grew up towards manhood, we 
soon put a different face upon things, and in 
stead of poverty and want there was a comfort 
able home and plenty. But we could see that in 



a short time this home would be much too small 
for us to remain much longer upon. 

William and I Journey to Owen Sound and then to 

Southampton 

In the beginning of the year 1851, and some 
time after having prepared a comfortable home 
for our parents and the younger children of the 
family, my oldest brother, William, and I 
thought it to be our duty to start out and try 
to make new homes for ourselves in some part 
of the country, and just about this time there 
were wonderfully glowing accounts in circulation 
regarding the suitableness of the Saugeen River 
valley as a farming district. 

After seriously considering the matter William 
and I concluded that we would try and get there 
and see for ourselves. 

So about the beginning of January, in the year 
1851, we drove a horse and light sleigh up to 
Owen Sound, and, after reaching there and rest 
ing a few days with an old friend, Mr. Wm. Cor 
bet, and obtaining fuller information, concerning 
the remaining part of our journey, we proceeded, 
and our friend, Mr. Corbet, and a friend of his, 
Mr. Sparling, accompanied us to the mouth of 
the Saugeen River. 

So, after making all needful preparations for 
the journey, and securing an Indian as guide, we 
started one afternoon, and went as far as Mr. 
Jimby s for the night, whose was the last and 
only house on the way, and is about five miles 
from Owen Sound village. This we did in order 

9 



to shorten the distance and make it possible for 
us to get through on the following day, a dis 
tance then supposed to be about thirty miles, 
through a dense forest covered with deep snow. 
But we made an early start the following morn 
ing, and with constant and steady perseverance 
we all managed to reach Southampton before it 
was quite dark. Some of us were very tired and 
nearly used up. But we got a very kind recep 
tion from the few inhabitants that were in that 
place. I do not think that there were more than 
one or two families there. 

Our Stay at and Departure from Southampton 

While in Southampton we stayed with an old 
acquaintance, Mr. George Butchart, formerly of 
Pilkington Township, who, with his brother-in- 
law, Mr. Orr, were at that time engaged in fish 
ing. They had erected a log house during the 
preceding fall and although it was by no means 
completed as yet, still, Mrs. Butchart, a very 
active lady of very superior appearance, and 
who, I think, was the only white woman in the 
place at that time, did all she could to make us 
all feel as comfortable as possible after our long 
walk through the deep snow. So the next morn 
ing, William and I, after being advised and in 
structed as to what direction and course we 
should take, travelled along the lake shore four 
or five miles, until we came to what is now Port 
Elgin, and there we went back from the lake a 
mile or two, and were so delighted and satisfied 
with the appearance of the timber and lay of the 

10 



land that we then and there decided to try if 
possible to make future homes for ourselves out 
in this beautiful forest. 

After another hard day s travel we re 
turned to our kind hostess, Mrs. Butchart, who 
soon prepared for us a supply of deliciously 
cooked fresh white fish, which we all greatly re 
lished after a long fast, and, remaining another 
night there, and getting an early breakfast, we 
started on our return journey to Owen Sound, 
leaving our Indian guide behind, as he preferred 
to remain at the Indian village where he had 
left us on the way over. 

We then bid our present friend a parting adieu, 
hoping all to return some day in the near future, 
for we were all so well satisfied with what we 
had already seen of the country that we wished 
to get back to it. So, in due time, we all reach 
ed the Sound in safety, only feeling a little tired 
from the long journey. But we found the return 
journey much easier, owing to the path being 
broken by our tracks across a few days before. 

Oar Return to Guelph and Preparations to Return to 

Saugeen 

So, after remaining a day in Owen Sound, we 
again set oil on our return journey to Guelph, 
which place we also reached in safety.- 

Arrived there, we gave an account of our trav 
els, and a description of what we had seen of the 
country to those who were an xious to know, and 
felt an interest in our future welfare, and, after 
fuller deliberation and consultation with inter- 

11 



ested friends, we decided to make an early start 
to an almost inaccessible and uninhabited part 
of the country, which at that time was an un 
broken forest for many miles, and in a great 
measure entirely cut off from outside communi 
cation. The country was not yet surveyed, and 
the few that were at the mouth of the Saugeen 
River had gone there by boat on the lake for the 
purpose of carrying on the fishing, which at that 
time and for many years was and still continues 
an important industry. But as there was no rea 
sonable way of reaching this place but by water, 
it looked more like foolishness than common 
sense to attempt such an undertaking. Neverthe 
less we had resolved to make the attempt, and 
were joined in and encouraged by two of our 
near neighbors, young men, like ourselves. We 
had been raised alongside of each other, upon ad 
joining farms, and our intimacy was of the most 
friendly kind, so, when we decided to try our 
fortunes in these new quarters, they resolved to 
accompany us, and began making immediate pre 
parations for doing so, as they did not care to 
remain behind after we had gone. After com 
pleting further arrangements, we engaged a col 
ored man, a Mr. John Taylor, who at that time 
had a good yoke of oxen and new wagon, and I 
also had a yoke of cattle, which I wished to 
take up with us. So we hitched them to the wag 
on, and then put the other yoke in front, as they 
were better broken to work, and so Mr. Taylor 
drove the tandem team, and amongst us we 
managed to fill the wagon up pretty full with 
boxes, bedding, bundles, cook-stove, and other 



12 



odds and ends that we thought would come use 
ful in the settlement of a new home in the 
woods. Besides we took with us a limited sup r 
ply of provisions and groceries, and such tools 
as were indispensable in a new country. Upon 
the whole the load was not of much value, but 
very useful for us to possess. 

Our Start for the New Country 

So, upon the 25th day of March, in the year 
1851, one fine morning, for this was an extreme 
ly mild and early spring, for the snow was near 
ly all gone, although the frost was still in the 
ground and wheeling was fairly good, upon this 
eventful morning, my brother William and I, 
with our neighbor, Samuel Strowger, and our 
colored Jehu, started on our journey of migra 
tion, Philip Strowger having been detained on 
business one day behind the others. The roads 
being fairly good, we reached Fergus the first 
night, and while staying there we met with a 
young man called Thomas Burgess, who said 
that he came from Peel County, and was on his 
way to Owen Sound or some other part of the 
country in search of his fortune, and as soon as 
he heard that we were going to the mouth of the 
Saugeen River he at once decided to cast in his 
lot and accompany us, and so afterwards stuck 
closely to us and became a partaker in all our 
hardships and sufferings for the time being, and I 
understand that he afterwards became a settled 
resident of the place, and, being by trade a coop 
er, he found plenty of employment in the making 
of fish barrels. 

13 



On the morning of the second day we left 
Fergus in good time, and succeeded in getting as 
far as the Township of Arthur that night, and 
putting up at a wayside inn. We made an early 
start the next morning, and after driving a mile 
or two we halted to cook some breakfast by the 
roadside, where there was some wood. 

Our Journey Continued, Whiskey Incident 

While here we were nearly having a tragedy of 
a very serious kind enacted, for during our stay 
in Fergus our colored teamster had purchased 
for his own use a jug of whiskey, and sometime 
during the previous afternoon he was refreshing 
himself from this jug, and then asked our friend 
Sam to take a little also. This offer was wil 
lingly accepted. This really was Sam s weakest 
spot, for all the rest of our present party were 
strictly temperate in their habits. 

And as Mr. Taylor had brought a small chest 
along with him in the wagon to hold his provis 
ions during the journey, he also put this whiskey 
jug into it and then securely locked it up for the 
night, and how great was his surprise and in 
dignation, when he got up upon the wagon for 
his provisions, to find the lock broken and his 
whiskey jug empty. He at once accused Sam of 
being the guilty party and of having broken the 
lodk and drunk all his whiskey. Sam as vigor 
ously denied the charge, at the same time using 
uncomplimentary language to the colored man, 
which caused him to get himself into a most un 
controllable passion. His eyes shone like two 

14 



balls of fire, he foamed at the mouth, and he 
had a voice like a lion, and as he was a power 
fully strong man he would soon have made an 
end of Sam had he got hold of him. 

But my brother and I got between them and 
used all our persuasive powers to prevent what 
might have ended very seriously if we had not 
managed to keep Sam out of his reach until we 
got him taken away oat of his sight. While 
speaking of our friend, Mr. Sam, here, I may 
say that he belonged to a fine, large English 
family, comprising eleven in number, and they 
were supposed to be rather aristocratic in their 
tendencies, and consisted of six verv handsome 
young ladies, who all grew up and afterwards 
were all comfortably married. The other five 
were boys, of which Philip was the eldest, and 
our hero, Sam, the second. He was always a 
great lover of horses, and was much in the pub 
lic, and there learned to indulge too freely in the 
use of that which afterwards became his master. 

Our Journey Up Continued and Terminated on the 

6th Day 

So, upon the third day of our travels we 
reached before evening Mr. Thos. Smith s hotel, 
in Kgermont, which is a short distance past 
what is now Mount Forest town, but which at 
that time was all forest, as there was not a 
house in sight, and while remaining at this ho 
tel we were overtaken by Mr. Philip Strowger, 
which made our party up to five in number, ex 
clusive of Mr. Taylor, who by this time had re 
turned to his usual mode of temper. 

15 



And upon the fourth day, evening, we arrived 
safely at Mr. Hunter s hotel, in the village of 
Durham, remaining there for the night, and while 
there received a great deal of kindness, and also 
useful information from Mr. Hunter regarding 
the remaining portion of our journey and the 
best way to take in order to accomplish our ob 
ject. He advised us to go down the new line of 
road towards Walkerton, instead of going by 
way of Owen Sound. This new road from Dur 
ham had been cut during the preceding fall, and 
two new bridges were built over the Saugeen 
River. We were advised to stop at the first 
bridge and there make a raft or a scow and from 
there go down the river to its mouth. 

After getting so much useful information 
from Mr. Hunter, we concluded to take his ad 
vice and carry out his instructions as far as pos 
sible. I also made suitable arrangements 
with Mr. Hunter to keep my oxen when they re 
turned after delivering the load at the bridge. 
So, upon the fifth day of our travelling we start 
ed to go down the Durham line, which we found 
to be a hard road to travel. Night overtook us 
and we had to make a fire of logs by the way 
side, and there we spent the first night, a taste 
of what we had for several weeks following to 
pass through. The night was cold and chilly. 
However, about noon on, the sixth day we reach 
ed the bridge and there we unloaded the wagon 
and allowed our colored Jehu to return with 
oxen and wagon, with orders to leave my oxen 
in charge of Mr. Hunter at Durham until the 



16 



woods would supply sufficient to sustain them 
with food. 

Our Decision to Make a Scow 

So, having at last reached our present destina 
tion, we hastened to erect some temporary tent 
or cover as a shelter until we had devised the 
wav of our further transportation, and after 
some deliberation, we all came to the conclusion 
that a good scow would be safer and easier to 
manage than a raft upon such a great, rushing 
river. But the question arose, where are we to 
get the lumber to make a scow? There is 
none nearer than Durham, and that cannot be 
thought of; it is quite out of the question. Some 
one suggested that if we could get a saw we 
could find a pine tree and cut the lumber our 
selves, and, fortunately for us, just at that time 
we received a visit from a Mr. Schuke, who had 
helped to build the bridges the preceding season, 
and he possessed a saw and other tools requisite 
for the making of a scow, so we engaged him to 
assist us in the undertaking, which he very 
readily consented to do. 

He had removed, with his family into the 
Township of Btntik the preceding season and 
settled a short distance from where we had un 
loaded our wagon, and which is now near or in 
the village of Hanover. 

So, we selected a large pine some distance 
from the bridge and in a thick swamp covered 
several feet deep with water and snow slush, 
making it verv difficult of access, and hard to 

17 



reach. But for all that we got at it and had the 
tree skilfully cut down upon supports high en 
ough to enable the sawyers to do their work 
more perfectly, and it did not take very long 
time for us to get all the material cut and 
readv for the making of a scow. 

But the next, and greatest difficulty of all, 
was to get this lumber to where it could be 
made up, and then conveniently launched into 
the river. The planks were green and heavy, 
thev were more than thirty feet in length, two 
inches thick and eighteen inches wide. 

Our Continuation and Workshop at the Bridge 

You mav imagine that it was no small job to 
carry these heavv, long timbers such a distance, 
and through such a thicket, covered with slush 
and water. However, by persistent toil and con 
stant perseverance, it was accomplished in time 
and without accident, and in a short time the 
scow was set up and completed, after causing uis 
to make several trips to Durham for nails and 
other needed supplies. And to add to our trials 
and disappointments, by the time we got our 
scow completed the river, from the effects of 
heavv rains and melting snow, had risen to 
such height that we found ourselves shut in uppn 
a small piece of high land at the end of tjhe 
bridge, where our stuff was placed, and we were 
surrounded by water from three to five feet deep,- 
so that our condition was anything but an envi 
able one, and still worse than all, we were in- 
Jormed that the water was so high that we cotuld 

18 



not pass under the bridge at Walkerton, although 
it had been built twenty feet above low water, 
so you ma} T imagine how greatly swollen the 
river had become. 

And I can assure you that we had all become 
heartily sick and tired of this place and its sur 
roundings. We had no shelter from wet or cold, 
day or night, nothing but a continuance of wet 
clothes and wet feet all the time for over two 
weeks. That we were compelled to remain in 
this miserable, comfortless abode, where we were 
exposed to the inclemency of the weather at this 
changeable season of the year, and when I tell 
vou that we had neither bed, table nor chair, 
cup, saucer nor plate, knife nor fork, and we never 
had our clothes off during all this time, and for 
several weeks afterwards. And you will not be 
surprised when I tell you that we often wished 
that we had never left our homes of comfort and, 
plenty to endure such inexpressible hardships. 
Our food consisted of fried pork, boiled potatoes, 
scones made from flour, mixed with cold water, 
and a little saleratus and salt, baked in a frying 
pan over coals, and sometimes a drink of hem 
lock tea, and we had always -to use our jack- 
knives to cut our pork with and a scone for a 
plate, so I can assure you that in a few 
weeks we did not look a verv spicy looking 1 
crowd, but quite the opposite. Nevertheless our 
numbers continued to increase. There were 
many from all parts coming in looking for land, 
and stopping at Durham on their way up, heard 
of our making a scow, and they were advised to 
come down to us and try if we would not take 

19 



them down the river with us o,n our scow. We 
had five in our own company, and were joined by 
three, Messrs Martindale from New Brunswick, a 
father and two sons, arid there were also two 
brothers, John and Jake Atkinson, from some 
where near Toronto, and a Mr. Boyle and an 
other whose flame I have forgotten. Altogether 
there were twelve of us awaiting the lowering 
of the waters in the river. Some of these parties 
had gone back to Durham and some went down 
to Mr. Walker s, all to be in readiness to start so 
soon as the water got low enough to allow of 
us passing under the bridge at Walkerton, which 
we hoped we would be able to accomplish in a 
few davs time. 

Our Departure Down the River 

And u pon the first Monday we got our scow 
loa,ded up and ready to start upon the Tuesday 
morning. Leaving this comfortless and inhospit- 
aible place early in the morning, we started down 
the roaring river, ankl we had not gone very far 
when it commenced to rain, and we soon got 
well soaked. However, we were becoming well 
accustomed to such things and did not mind it 
much, so anxious were we to proceed forward on 
our journey, and before starting we had set up 
the cook-stove in the scow and put a length or 
two of pipe on and made our fire in imitation 
af a steamboat, and we had rowlocks and pad 
dles for oars, besides a long sweep behind to 
steer the scow. This sweep or helm was twelve 
feet long, and had great power in the steering of 

20 



the scow, and we were greatly assisted by the 
Messrs. Martindale, who were accustomed to 
river navigation where thev came from, in the 
lower province, so, while passing down the 
crooked and swift flowing river, about noon we 
saw the lirst little clearing, and having brought 
with us the long tin dinner horn or trumpet, we 
commenced blowing in imitation, of a steamboiat 
whistle, when Mr. Josep/h Walker, the founder of 
the now pretty town of Walkerton, and the oth 
er male inhabitants of the place, came running 
to the river s edge, cheering and waving their 
hats in the air, and so great was the tumult and 
noise of cheering and blowing the horn that 
those pulling at the oars did not hear the in 
structions given bv the man at the helm to pull 
hard on their oars, but thought that he wanted 
them to desist rowing, and the scow at that 
time was headed in lor the shore. The swift 
current soon got a side sweep upon her and sent 
her round about at great speed, just missing 
one of the piers of the bridge bv a few inches. 
We had a verv narrow escape from utter de 
struction, for if we had struck the pier our scow 
and all upon her would have suddenly been 
dashed to pieces an"d lost, the current was so 
very swift and the water so deep that escape 
would have been almost impossible, and those 
on shore who saw the occurrence became pale 
\vith fear, and we all got a great fright. But 
fortunately we all escaped being swept ofi by 
the sudden sweep, and after receiving on board 
the remaining passengers and getting a small 
supply of potatoes and flour we were soon again 



on our rapid course down the river. But \ve 
had not passed far from under the bridge when 
we again were nearly having another narrow es 
cape. So high was the water an,d swift the cur 
rent at that time, and as there was a small is 
land near the bridge, and upon it there was a 
large bent cedar tree, leaning oiver the deep wa 
ter only a few feet from its surface, and under 
this tree the swift current seemed to draw us, 
so that it required all our skill and efforts to 
be put forth to prevent ourselves and everything 
upon the scow being completely swept off in|to 
the water. It was another hairbreadth escape. 

The weather by this time had changed from 
the warm, wet morning, for it had cleared up 
now, and had become cold and windy, which 
caused our wet garments to make us feel rather 
uncomfortable, and we suffered" more or less from 
the cold. But we continued to proceed dawn the 
river without meeting with any serious mishaps, 
and towards evening we ran our scow in to the 
shore and tied her up fast to a tree for the 
night. 

And then looking for the best place to spend 
the night, we took shelter under a large tree. 
We soon made a fire and prepared wood for the 
night and some hemlock branches to lay down 
,upion, and as I was appointed to be chief cook 
and butler for the time being I had a very busy 
time in preparing food for so many. I had three 
frying pans in use, some frying pork and two 
baking scones, which I made by filling a large 
pan with flour and then putting in a little salt 
and a small quantity of saleratus, and after this 

22 



mixing with cold water until it became a stifi 
dough, and then pressing- it into a frying pan, 
and if the pan had been lately used for frying 
pork that made the scone taste all the better. 
But whether they tasted good or not they were 
in great demand, and it seems astonishing the 
quantity it required to supply the wants of a 
dozen very hungry men, and I could not prorvide 
the victuals fast enough to keep them all engag 
ed at one time in eating, and it took a long time 
before all were satisfied. 

Our First Night Out on the Voyage 

So, after the appetites of all" h/ad been satisfied 
with eating, the next important business with 
the majority of those present was to fill their 
pipes, when smoking became the order of thjb 
evening, and afterwards the telling of anecdotes 
and stories occupied the greater part of their 
time. I would sav just here that although many 
of our company were almost entire strangers to 
each other, yet our intercourse and treatment o! 
each other was of the kindliest and most consid 
erate nature. Perhaps our fellowship in suffering 
may have had something to do in the matter, 
and we are brought to feel our greater depend 
ence upon each other. Such has generally been 
the case in newly-settled communities. To re 
turn to our story, as the evening passed on 
drowsiness took possession of the speakers, when 
wearied nature had to give in, and sleep gained 
the ascendancy and silence prevailed. Yet the fire 
required frequent attention, owing to the night 



being so cold and windy, and some little time 
before daylight we had a thick fall of snow, 
which soon covered the unprotected sleepers to 
some depth, but the sleepers continued to enjoy 
their peaceful repose, seemingly quite unconscious 
of their unpleasant condition. But such are some 
of the varieties of life, and I felt tempted to say, 
great is the power of endurance. Then I got up 
and made on a good fire and prepared a good 
pot of potatoes, to be ready for breakfast, and I 
got some hemlock to make hot tea, baked more 
cakes or scones, and fried pork. So I soon had 
breakfast readv, and we all took a good drink of 
hot hemlock tea, as it was considered a good 
preventive of colds, and we no doubt stood in 
need of something off that kind, after such severe 
exposure. 

Our Second Day on the Water, Past Paisley 

So upon this Wednesday morning we again 
untied our scow arid all got aboard, and we 
made an early start down the river, and we had 
not gone very far before we saw the first appear 
ance of civilization; there were some lately cut 
trees near the river banks and a newly-built 
shanty, and we found the occupant to be Mr. 
Simeon Orchard, the very first settler and foun 
der of what is now the busy town of Paisley, 
and just where the Mu,d or Tay River enters the 
Saugeen. After a short stay with Mr. Orchard 
we again pursued our journey down what was, to 
all of us, quite unknown regions, and not know 
ing what lav before us on our wav do\vn this 

24 



great, crooked, rapid running- river, which it was 
in those davs, and the thought frequently occur 
red to us that we were the first party of white 
men that ever were known to pass safely down 
this river. 

And so, about noon we came to a beautiful 
level beach, very heavilv timbered with fine 
large maples like an extensive sugar bush. Here 
we went ashore to get some dinner ready, 
and also for the purpose of exploration, and so 
greatly were we pleased with the appearance of 
the land that we would have liked to locate 
there had we known anything 1 of our where 
abouts. So, after getting some dinner, we again 
got aboard and continued our passage down till 
about the middle of the afternoon when we again 
observed some newlv cut trees, the first since 
leaving Paislev. We immediately made prepar- 
atio;ns to salute aricfc got our long horn and com 
menced sounding it, and no sooner had we done 
so than we saw r two men coming miming to 
wards us, waving their hats and arms in the 
air and cheering ajid beckoning tis to run our 
scow into shore. 

Our Arrival Down Near the Lake 

And when we did go ashore, how great was 
oiur surprise and delight to meet with an old 
acquaintance from the Township of Pilkington, 
Mr. Alexander Wallace, with his frien d, 
Mr. James Cathay, the teacher or missionarv to 
the Indians at their village near the mouth of 
the Saugecn River. He was one of the two first 



white men in this part of the country in 1848. 
The other one was the Rev. Mr. Willis ton, In 
dian missionary. Mr. Wallace had arrived 
and located himself here i a few days previously, 
and had Mr. Cathay assisting h dm to get a house 
built; after introductory explanations we re 
ceived some desirable and useful information re 
garding the localitv, anjd were told that we were 
only a bout three miles distant from the lake, 
and about twelve from the mouth of the river, 
as the river and lake run nearlv parallel with 
each other for some ^distance. So, after obtaining 
this information we secured our scow to a newly 
cut stump, and started in the way that we were 
directed to have a look at the great Lake Hur 
on. So we passed d;own through a fine timbered 
farming land and what is now the pretty village 
of Port Elgin, and there for the first time most 
of us took a look at the great lake. Returning 
by the same track, we all greatly admired the 
appearance of the forest that we had passed 
through. 

So, returning to o,ur scow, we made prepara 
tions for supper and a place to lodge in during 
the night, as it was again turning rather cold, 
and our newly-found friends had only a shed 
made of logs oin three sides and open at the 
front, where they had a fire made of logs, with 
some brush to lay utpon, but the wind was blow 
ing strongly from the fire into the shed, filling 
the place with smoke and ashes, which made the 
place most unendurable and we could not stay 
there any longer, and we had to get out and 
make some other kind of shelter for ourselves, 

26 



and gathering some boughs we tried to erect a 
kind of break-wind, but for all that we put in a 
miserable, disagreeable night, suffering much 
from the cold wind. 

Second Night and Philip Selects His Home Witt 
Mr. Wallace on River Bank 

This caused some of us to deplore our condi 
tion and grieve over the folly o,f our coming to 
such a place. But in due time morning came 
and with it a bright sun and warmer day, and 
after replenishing ourselves again with break 
fast and taking further counsel with those of our 
party who were desirous of selecting homesteads, 
we acted upon the advice of our new 
Iriends, who advised us to cross over the river 
to the other side, as the land was reported to be 
even better than on this side. And immediately 
acting upon such advice we again boarded our 
scow and pulled for the other side, and soon 
landed again upon a bea utiful, large river flat, 
where we again tied up the scow and at once 
started upon a tour of inspection, and going 
down the river quite a distance viewing the land. 
Those that were not so anxious to secure farm 
ing lands proceeded down towards ^the Indian 
village, and thus to the mouth of the river, while 
the remainder of our partv returned to our scow 
and at once commenced to erect some temporary 
shelter for the night and prepare food, for we 
were all very hungry. Travelling over the virgin 
soil seemed to be a great appetizer for we were 
always hungrv. 



The following morning Philip Strowger select 
ed for a home a fine site upon the large flats, 
near where we now were and opposite the large 
island in the river, and we all immediately join 
ed in to assist him in the erection of a small 
house, which he said would be a home for us all 
until we had provided one for ourselves. So, in 
a short time we had one up and coVered with 
slabs of basswood, and we soon had it habitable, 
and it was even a vast improvement upon wh;at 
we had been lately enjoying, and we were invit 
ed to consider this place as our present home. 

Assisted Philip to Build His House 

Philip was a very expert hand at using an axe 
and a strong voting man, measuring near six 
feet four inches in height, and he soon managed 
to put things into shape, and then he went with 
us to asj?ist and advise in the selection of farms. 
We generally took long tramps, as we had so 
much to choose from and were always looking 
for something better. When we returned in the 
evening we were nearly dead from hunger. So 
we thought it would be better that one of us 
stay at home and have some food prepared upon 
our return. So our friend, Mr. Sam, did not 
seem to be as anpdous as some of the others 
about choosing a farm for himself, and he will 
ingly volunteered to remain arid do the coo,king 
for that day. As we started out that morning 
Philip as usual was carrying his gun. When we 
were a few yards from the house a partridge flew 
up., and Philip shot it and carried it back to the 



hoiuise and gajve it to Sam with orders to haye it 
nicely cleaned and made into soup by the time 
we returned, as soup , would be s uch a nice change 
after using- so much salt pork. So we departed, 
leaving Sam to have a nicely prepared dinner 
reajdy for us upon our return. After a long walk 
we- returned about four o clock as hungry as 
hawks, and great was our disappointment at 
finding nothing rea dy to eat, and there was Sam 
lying comfortably upon his back cointentedly 
smoking his pipe, quite at his ease, and when 
Philip asked him why he had not cooiked dinner 
he replied that he had, and on being asked where 
it was, said that he had eaten it. Then Philip 
said, and what have you done with the pheasant? 
He said that it was in the pot, an<d on Philip 
going to get it, asked where was the soup. Sam 
said that he had drank it all to that. Philip 
drank the remainder. 

Experiences of some Cooking of Mr* Sam 

So Philip, after drinking the remainder of the 
sou,^), took the bird o(ut of the pot. It looked 
plump arid very fat, but as soon as he put his 
fork into it an explosion of the contents was 
the consequence, which flew all oyer Philip s face, 
for Sam was quite inexperienced in the art of 
co/oking and he had neglected to remove any of 
the inward parts from the pheasant, but had 
ma3e and drank the soaijp from such ingredients 
as it contained. Philip having dirank the dregs 
of it caused a little lauigh at his expense, and 
the saying is that a hungrv man is an angry 

29 



man. But this only caused go^d-natured Philip 
to go and catch Sam by the feet as he lay there 
laughing and pull him to the outside of the door 
without using any violence whatever. However, 
we all did the best we ciofuld under such disap 
pointments and in a short time we had prepared 
food for ourselves, afl;d Were satisfied, for we 
hlad come to learn by experience that disappoint 
ments were of frequent occurrence and we had 
just to put up with such things. 

William Goes Up the River and is Delighted with 

What He Saw 

The next day being Sunday, my brother and I 
had been brought up under good Presbyterian 
teaching and were taught to remember the S alb- 
bath dav, to keep it holy, and yet William 
thought that it could not be of much harm for 
him to take a quiet stroll up the river bank a 
short distance, and after walking a little over a 
mile he came upon what he thought to be the 
loveliest spot that he had as yet seen, and after 
his return he told me all about it, and we re 
solved to go up on the morrow, that is, Moridlay 
morning and see it. So when morning came, 
mv brother and I told the others that we were 
goin,g up the river jto have a look: at a part of 
the couittrv which William saw yesterday. 

Oar Selections of Farms 

Upon a Monday morning, about the middle of 
the month of April, in the year 1851, about a 
month after leaving Gutelph, we resolved, after a 

30 



very general and close inspection of all 
the surroundings arid conditions of the 
place, here to pitch our tent, and then 
trv to hew out for ourselves future 
homes in this beautiful forest, and although the 
land was not vet surveyed, we commenced at 
once to cut logs to build a shanty near by a 
pure running spring creek, and not far from the 
edge of the river, which had a pretty island of 
green grass just opposite, and this had the ef 
fect of giving a very pleasing, cheerful aspect 
and appearance to the place. In a short time 
we got our household effects brought here with 
the assistance of our friends, and we also got 
the logs of the shanty put up, which was only 
thirteen feet square, and the next morning we 
went to assist Jake Atkinson to build his house 
on the opposite side of the river, for by this 
time a majority of those who had come dqwn 
the river with us had departed, mostly to the 
mouth of the river or some other part of the 
country, only those that wanted farm land re 
maining. So, when we had nearly completed 
raising Jake s house about noon, a gen tleman, 
Captain John Spence, came up from Southamp 
ton to get my brother or T to go with him, and 
take squatters possession of some valuable pine 
land about seven miles down the river towards 
the Indian Reserves, for there were gentlemen 
from Toronto making enquiries after such land, 
and also our friend, Mr. McDonald, was anxious 
to secure the pine for the purpose of making fish 
barrels. 



:U 



Incident of the Bear, Wm. Lost 

So William started immediately with Cap[t. 
Spence to our quarters across the river and at 
once prepared for themselves a hasty dinner, 
made from pork gralvv and flour put into a pan 
and fried together. This, with a drink of water, 
cqmpleted their meal, and as it was a fine, 
bright, warm day they set off at once, William 
going in his shirt sleeves and carrying his axe 
ujpon his shoulder. They turned down by the 
batiks of the river, which they found to be a 
long, rough, tedious road to travel, down the 
croidked river, which made the way dbuble the 
lengtji. But at last they reached the spot and 
William commenced to perform the duties requir- 
efd, while Capt. Spence coirtiiiued his course 
down the river past the, Indian village and then 
home. William, after finishing his work, thought 
that he could reach home in, a much nearer way 
by taking a straight line through the woods, and 
as the day was drawing toward s its close, he 
started off at a rapid p ( ace and after travelling 
for a considerable distance was surprised to see 
what appeared to be a large clearing, and get 
ting nearer saw, to his dismay, that it was a 
body of water, and as he was not aware of any 
thing of the kind being in our near neighbor 
hood, he became greatly alarmed atr/d frightened. 
Solon he discovered that he was lost, and 
must have gone a long way in the wrong direc 
tion. This lake is now Arran, situated in the 
Township of Arran. So William, after a few 
moments of study and considering the best course 

32 



to take, for it was just about dark, started to 
run back in the direction that he thought he had 
come, in hopes of finding the river, and in his 
excitement and haste he nearly ran over a large 
bear. 

William Lost and Found 

So sudden and unexpected was the occurrence 
that the bear was frightened up a tree, and Wil 
liam lost no time in making the distancie be 
tween them as great as possible, and while run 
ning in the dark through a thick underbrush his 
pants were nearly all torn to pieces. Not know 
ing where he was, and becoming tired and hot 
from the running and excitement, he came to a 
large fallen tree, and then crawled into the hol 
low for the night, and intended to try and de 
fend himself with his acxe against the bear or 
any other night prowlers, should they attempt 
to attack him. But he soon found his bed cham 
ber to be a very cold and uncomfortable one, for 
being very warm from his previous exertion and 
being almost without clothing, he soon became 
very cold and chilled through. He lay with his 
teeth chattering all night, but as soon as day 
light began to appear he crawled out of his den 
and began to take in his surroundings and be 
gan by examining upon which side of the tree 
the moss -grew, and the direction in which the 
top of the pine leaned, and as it was a dark 
morning the sun could not be seen, he had to be 
guided by observation of these natural signs. He 
set off in what he knew to be a southerly direc- 

33 



tion, hoping soon to reach the river, and in the 
course of a few hours travel heard the rushing 
sound of its waters, and continuing his way up 
its banks, reached our quarters about noon in a 
most pitiable-looking condition. But after giv 
ing full explanation as to the cause and getting 
some dinner, he soon became his former self 
again, quickly recovering from all its effects, be 
ing blessed with a good constitution. He was 
as hardy as a knot and felt no worse from this 
hard experience. 

My First Night in Our New Home 

I will tell you a little about how I employed 
my time during William s absence. When I re 
turned from assisting Jake I found some of the 
remains of Capt. Spence s and William s dinner 
in the frying pan, and after more fully supplying 
my own wants, I at once commenced operations 
and began to saw a doorway into our shanty, 
and before night I had completed the cutting, 
but as we had neither door nor roof, I got a 
forked stick and dkove it into the ground and I 
put some more sticks across and then covered 
all over with a quilt, and then got some hem 
lock brush to put on the ground for a bed, and 
then I nailed another quilt on the doorway as a 
slight protection and made every other prepara 
tion that I could for remaining there during the 
night, as I expected William to return every 
moment, and thus I was kept quite busily en- 
ployed until it became quite dark. William had 
not yet returned and I began to feel a -good deal 

34 



annoyed at his seeming thoughtlessness or indif 
ference in thus leaving me to remain alone for 
the night, for I was under the impression that he 
had returned as far as Philip Strowger s and 
was remaining there when he knew that I was 
alone and would be expecting him, for we had 
only removed that morning and little did I think 
that he was even in a worse plight than I. But 
so anxious were we to have a home and shelter 
that I was not willing to lose any more time by 
going back to Philip s, and yet this place was in 
no condition to remain in over night. This was 
also my first night of separation from the others 
and my first in our new quarters, and I felt .any 
thing but comfortable. I slept very little, the 
night was so cold, and I heard the lynx roaming 
about outside the shanty. I would greatly have 
preferred some other and more desirable com 
panionship, but at length morning came and all 
nature put on a brighter appearance. 

Mrs, Wallace s Entrance 

And while I am speaking of the events I think 
that it would not be right for me to omit giv 
ing an account of an incident that happened 
about this time, just to give some idea of the 
kind of material many of the early pioneers were 
composed of. Our neighbor, Mr. Wallace, on the 
other side of the river, had just erected a small 
house of logs, but at this time it had neither 
roof, floor nor door, when his plucky young wife, 
who had a short time before walked all the way 
from Owen Sound through the Indian trail, ac- 

36 



companied by her husband, who drew a tobog 
gan all the way over on the snow, laden with 
their household effects, and she also carried some 
bundles in her hands all the way. Since their ar 
rival she had been staying at the Indian village 
with their friends, Mr. and Mrs. Cathay, but be 
coming very anxious to see her new home and 
assist her husband in his work, one morning she 
left her comfortable abode with Mrs. Cathay 
amd started off to see her new home. Carrying 
some bundles containing a few requisites, and 
walking all the way she reached her intended 
home before evening, and as there was no door 
way cut or any way of entering, she climbed 
over the top of the logs and got inside in that 
way, and ever afterwards remained to assist her 
hhisband in all Ms undertakings, putting up 
cheerfully with every hardship and inconvenience 
incidental to pioneer settlement, and I am pleas 
ed to add that this lady still remains and is yet 
an active, vigorous woman, and able to enjoy 
the fruits of her labors of earlier days, although, 
many of those who to ok a part with her in those 
days have passed away. 

Home Incidents 

In returning to our former subject I may say 
that we put off no time in trying to put our 
shanty into a more habitable .condition. William 
was a good h and with an axe and with it made 
many little things that were very useful. We 
managed to roof our shanty with elm bark and 
we chinked the cracks up with pieces of split 

36 



basswood and moss, and we made a fireplace 
with stones from the river, and a chimney , place 
of bent sticks plastered with mud, and a floor of 
basswood , slabs, split and hewn with an adze. 
But we were also very anxious to get some of the 
land cleared in order to put in some crops and 
persevered hard to attain that object. There 
were a good many , people coming into the coun 
try about that time looking for land, and very 
frequently we had to ferry them over the river 
with our little raft, and seldom a day or night 
passed without having some to entertain. There 
was no Qther place within reach for many miles, 
and we never made any charge but welcomed all 
who came. Sometimes it troubled us a little to 
keep up a supply of provisions. We did not 
know where nor how to get them, but we gener 
ally managed to have something both for our 
selves and others to eat. So we persevered ev 
ery day enlarging our clearing, until we had got 
quite an opening made in the woods, and as we 
could see with pleasure each day the results of 
the labor of our hands we were the more encour 
aged to persevere in the attainment of this, the 
object of our ambition, and then to look forward 
with hope to the speedy betterment of our con 
dition, and we often used to say that the bitter 
cometh before the sweet, which will make the 
sweet taste all the sweeter when it comes. 

A Thrilling Incident of a Wrecked Scow 

One Saturday evening early in May we noticed 
a large quantity of wreckage floating down the 
river in the shape of boxes, barrels and bundles 

37 



of bedding, also a coop full of drowned chickens 
were found stuck in a tree top at the edge of the 
river. We felt sure that something serious had 
occurred up the river, so about ten o clock on 
Sunday morning we got word that a scow was 
wrecked in a rapids some miles up the river, and 
that there were men, women and children aboard 
of Her, and that they were in great danger of 
perishing if they did not get immediate assist 
ance, for they had been in the water since Satur 
day at noon. This information was given us by 
a party of surveyors coming .down the river in a 
small scow, but they dared not venture near for 
fear of knocking them all dff into the water, so 
strong and rapid was the current at that place. 
I may here say that the report of our safe pass 
age down the river had become generally known, 
and scows became popular. Some one suggested 
that we take up our large scow and try to res 
cue them, but that was almost impossible in 
such a swift running river. It would have taken 
a long time and the people were in imminent 
danger, and every moment was precious, as we 
did not know how far up the river they might be. 
So we abandoned the idea of taking up the scow, 
but instead we concluded to take an axe, auger 
and ropes, and hurry up and make a raft up 
above them and when down at the proper place 
anchor it and endeavor by that means to rescue 
those that were in such peril. So Jake Atkin 
son, William and I each put a small piece of 
scone in our pockets and then started up the 
river bank on a run. But we found travelling 
very disagreeable that morning for there had 

38 



fallen during the night about an inch of soft 
snow, which made the branches wet and unpleas 
ant and the way was very uneven and hard to 
travel with much speed. But nevertheless we 
soon came to out new neighbor s, Mr. Gowia- 
lock s, who, with his son and Mr. James Row- 
an, who had been there only a few days, had 
just put some poles up against a tree and cover 
ed them with boughs to make a temporary 
shelter. 

I might say here that the occupants of this 
place were Mr. Gowinlock, a substantial Scotch 
farmer from the Township oi Chinguacousy, and 
Mr. James Rowan, who afterwards became mem 
ber for the county, so when we reached this spot 
we called out. Whv are you not up yet? Do you 
not know that there are people wrecked up the 
river? And receiving no answer we looked into 
the tent and saw a man lying asleep on some 
rugs, and again repeating our question and ask 
ing, Why are you lying there? when he replied in a 
sleepy, unintelligible way, Did you see anything 
of my double-barrelled gun? We said no, and 
then asked him if he was one of the party that 
was wrecked up the river. He said yes. We 
then asked him where Mr. Gowinlock was. He 
said that they had all gone up the river to help 
those that were on the water. We asked him no 
more questions, but at once hurried forward as 
fast as we could go. I might as well say here, 
as I was told sdon afterwards, that this poor 
young fellow from which we had just parted, 
was a young Englishman lately from London, 
and an expert swimmer. When the scow struck 



the rock and went down the hinder part sunk 
first, as it was laden with heavy material that 
would not float, but slid down .to that end and 
anchored her to the bottom in a sloping position, 
the forepart being a few feet under the water, 
but all the lighter articles that would swim were 
carried away by the current, and it was some of 
these that were seen by us as they were being 
carried past on the Saturday evening. For the 
scow had been heavily laden with household 
goods and provisions, besides heavy tool chests 
and nails; and also had on board four men, two 
women and Hve children, and as they were in a 
very perilous condition they made every effort 
to save their lives. This young man was the 
only good swim^mer and he was induced to di 
vest himself of his clothing, and tying some bed 
eords around his middle jumped into the water, 
hoping to reach the shore and then make one 
end fast there and the other to the scow, that by 
that means they might find a way of escape. 
After swimming over a distance the current 
caught the rope in such a way that he could not 
endure the effort and had to be drawn back into 
the scow. But after resting a little he said that 
he would try again, but this time he would take 
the end of the rope in his mouth, as he thought it 
would be easier to manage in that way. So he 
made a second effort in this way, but had not 
gone very far from the scow when he found that 
the water was having as great an effect upon the 
rope as it had at the first trial, and opening his 
mouth let the end of the rope go, and made for 
the shore, which he safely reached and then com- 

40 



menced his long walk down the river edge in a 
perfectly nude condition, in hopes of finding 
some place of shelter, and getting assistance to 
help him in trying to rescue those that were 
still upon the water. Continuing his way down 
the river s edge for a long distance without find 
ing any help, darkneste came on and he could not 
see his way, so he had to content himself by 
standing up against a tree all night, and to add 
still further to his discomfort there fell about an 
inch of snow during the night, and from the ef 
fects of the cold and chiill he got into a kind of 
stupid slumber just about daylight, and did not 
awake for some time, but when he did he at 
once commenced to proceed on his journey down 
the river, but had only gone a short distance 
when he saw a smoke and made straight for it, 
quite unobserved, and he gave a great surprise 
to Mr. Gowinlock, who was standing at that 
moment with his back towards him, busily en 
gaged making his oatmeal porridge for break 
fast, and turning around suddenly. he saw the 
naked man standing close beside him, which 
caused him to start back, and holding up his 
Hands he exclaimed, "The Ivoord be here, whar 
cam- ye fra ?" So after giving t some little ex 
planation of his circumstances and the disaster, 
they at on ce furnished the poor fellow with a 
flannel shirt, and after giving him something to 
eat, put him into the bed they had just lately 
risen from themselves. After taking a hurried 
breakfast and securing the tools and material 
that they would require in making a raft, they 
started off up the river in search of the wrecked 

41 



scow, and as they had a good start of us they 
had succeeded in making a raft and had safely 
rescued all on board, and were just landing them 
on the river s edge as we reached .the spot. 

Messrs. Gowinlock and Rowan used great 
caution and judgment in the successful accom 
plishment of such a ticklish job. But the res 
cued ones having no more relish for water con 
veyance declined to proceed any further by the 
raft, and so the rescuers proceeded down the 
swift running stream and reached their aboide, 
leaving the poor, pitiable, starving creatures to 
our care. They were only partly clothed and 
looked half starved, for they had been in the cold 
water for more than twenty-four hours without 
any food and hanging on to the scow for dear 
life. No wonder their first request was for 
bread. We had only the small piece that we put 
into our pockets at starting and had not yet 
taken time to eat, but we freely delivered up all 
that we had, which was not much amongst so 
many. It was now about four o clock in the 
afternoon and we each took a shivering child 
upon our backs, with their teeth chattering from 
the cold and long exposure in the water, and 
some had no shoes nor coats to wear, for all had 
been taken down the stream. One poor lady had 
the misfortune of getting her foot cut with an 
adze on the scow, which made travelling very 
painful, especially on such a rough gravelly road . 
The names of these unfortunate persons, so far 
as I can now remember, for it is over fifty years 
ago, are: Mr. Silas Fuller, Mrs. Fuller and four 
children; Mr. Gilbert and his man, who swam to- 

42 



tiie shore; Mrs. Philips and another lady and 
child, whose names I forget. 

Thus we continued our slow journey down the 
river s edge, each with our load upon our back, 
and we soon began to feel the need of) some din 
ner, for we had all travelled a long way over a 
rough road without taking any refreshments, 
and it by this time was getting quite dark, and 
glad were we indeed to see at a little distance 
the light from Mr. Gowinlock s fire, where he in 
his kind, hospitable way was busy pre 
paring what he had, and was mak 
ing oatmeal porridge, for oatmeal was 
the only thing in the way of food diet that 
he possessed at that time. But the children kept 
crying for bread, and said that they did not like 
porridge or gruel. Mr. Gowinlock said that he 
had no bread to give them, nor anything to make 
bread o^, and if they could not take that they 
were "nane hungert." But we were feeling both 
tired and hungry and were anxious to reach our 
shanty, and suggested that we would take the 
raft that had rescued them from the scow and 
go the remainder of the way on the river. As 
Mr. Gowinlock had only been a very short time 
there he had no accommodation to offer, but 
kindly consented to keep as many of the men and 
boys as would stay with him, and if we could 
take the women and girls with us, for we had 
the best accommodation to give them. So we 
agreed to do so, when the women offered a verv 
determined opposition to venturing upon the wa 
ter again, and it required all, our powers of per 
suasion to induce them to do so, and to convince 

43 



them that there was really very little danger, 
as we were acquainted with the course of the 
river, and that it would be quite impossible to 
travel by land on such a dark night. They at 
last consented and one man also accompanied 
us, so while we were proceeding safely down the 
river and had gotten about half way, when we 
heard a loud halloo from the opposite bank of 
the river. Two or three men had come up the 
river from that side in search of the wrecked 
ones, as the news had spread all around by this 
time and getting benighted they had made pre 
parations to remain where they were during the 
night, and hearing us coming down on the raft 
they commenced to shout and halloo to us, mak 
ing many enquiries, and when we told them that 
all the party had been safely taken off the water 
they then asked us to put across to them. But 
we told them that we were too tired 
and hungry and did not want to put off 
any more time than we could help. They then 
said that we could never get down that river on 
such a dark night, and that we would all get 
drowned. This set the women to screaming and 
badly frightening them. We told them to keep 
quiet and not to be afraid, for we knew the river 
better than those who wished to alarm them 
did, and in a few minutes more we would land 
them safely on the shore at our landing place 
near our shanty, which we very soon reached, 
where we tied up our raft and quickly marched 
up to the shanty. The first thing we did was to 
light the candle and then make on a great fire 
and put the kettle on, and get some food ready 



44 



as fast as possible, for we were all very hungry, 
especially those poor women and children. We 
soon got some ham and bread and a good cup 
of tea, and after our urgent cravings of hunger 
were satisfied we men all went outside for a 
time in order to allow the women to retire to 
the only bed that we possessed, and our next 
concern was to find suitable corners or space in 
which to obtain a little repose after our hard 
day s travel, and just as we were getting things 
into condition and were ready to retire we heard 
the sound of voices outside, and upon opening 
the door to our astonishment a number of men 
entered/ enough to fill the house and occupy all 
our standing room, for we had not chairs nor 
seats to offer them, and if we had there was no 
room to set them. The news of the disaster had 
reached the mouth of the river, and as this was 
Sunday some o,f the inhabitants and also a few 
strangers that were up here looking for land, 
started with the others up the river, in order to 
render what assistance they could. But as they 
did not know the distance and were entirely ig 
norant of the way, they lost themselves and in 
the darkness had been wandering about for some 
time until they saw the light from our shanty. 
It was now getting to be a late hour. They had 
a loaf of bread which they had brought with 
them and some of them also carried whiskey, 
both externally and internally, and were a little 
inclined sometimes to use improper language by 
swearing, but we told them at once that we 
would not allow any language of that kind in fhis 
shanty. Afterwards there was no more trouble, 



4ft 



but the night was spent mostly in conversation 
and telling stories and a song or \ two was also 
sung. Thus the night passed away and when 
daylight began to appear those who had come up 
from Southampton wanted to get the raft to 
carry them down the river. I said no, that I 
wanted to go to Durham for my oxen in a day 
or two and wanted to use it then to go down the 
river. They pleaded with me to go 
now and take them all along with 
me. I consented, after consulting with 
William and arranging with him to come 
to Owen Sound and assist me in driving the 
oxen over from there, for William was going 
that day with some others to try to save some 
of the stuff that was still on .the wrecked scow. 
So I arid a number more started a little after 
sunrise to go down the river upon the raft, but 
we did not reach the mojith of the river till it 
was nearly noon, and then I went^ direct to the 
house of my friend, Capt. Spence and had a good 
wash and tidy up, and enjoyed a nice hot din 
ner, which was rather a luxury to me in those 
times. Then I started immediately to cross the 
river on my way to Owen Sound, a distance of 
28 miles through the woods. It was now one 
o clock. I was told by everyone that met me 
that I could not get through that night, and as 
I passed through the Indian village I met the 
chief and I asked him what he thought of my 
chan ce of getting thorough to-night. He shook his 
head and said "Sun too much round that way. 
pointing to the west. Notwithstanding this, I 
pushed on as fast as I could go and carried my 

46 



coat on my arm, and in one of its pockets I had 
a very valuable knife which had been given to 
me by a young friend of mine lately from Scot 
land, a younger brother of the late Charles Dav 
idson, Esq., Guelp h. When I was running, this 
knife accidentally dropped out of my coat pock 
et amongst the leaves of the path, and when I 
got nearly half way through I met the two 
voung Messrs. Martindale, who came down the 
river with us on our scow. They were on their 
return from Owen Sound, which place they had 
left at eight o clock in the morning, and they 
were under the impression that they were nearly 
all the wav across, so they were both surprised 
and alarmed when I told them that they were 
very little more than half wav. This informa 
tion set them off at a run and I continued my 
journey in the opposite direction as fast as I 
could go, and I got into the Sound about eight 
o clock, having made a very quick passage 
across. But then I discovered that in my haste 
by running I had lost my good knife that I had 
so much prized. Ais usual I put up at Mr. Cor 
bet s hotel and enjoyed a good hot supper, and 
very shortly afterwards I retired to bed. I had 
gotten no sleep on the previous night and after 
the long walk of the dav I was very tired and 
needed rest. ^So after having a good sleep I felt 
refreshed and in the morning, after taking break 
fast, I again set off on my way down to Dur 
ham, a distance of twenty-eight miles, and 
reaching that place early in the afternoon I re 
mained there all night. But I made all suit 
able preparations for returning to Owen Sound 

47 



with the oxen in the morning, and as it would 
not be possible to drive them through the woods 
yoked together I thought it better to leave the 
yoke and fasten the bows upon their necks and 
drive them separately. But I had not got very 
far before I found out that I had made a great 
mistake, for when I came to a cross road or an 
open gate the one ox would turn and run in one 
direction and the other one the opposite way. 
This all caused me a good deal of extra running 
and I made very slow progress all the way, and 
to add still more to my trouble it 
cornmen/ced snowing heavily just before 
night, and the ground was soon cov 
ered quite a depth. This made travel 
ling very disagreeable and difficult, and when it 
became quite dark I could not see the highway. 
Especially wais this the case when I reached the 
commons near Owen Sound where there were no 
fences nor houses to be seen. All was white 
with snow T and as the oxen were also white in 
color I had a hard job to keep them both in 
sight, and I did not know whereabouts I had got 
to, and could only follow the cattle, which ulti 
mately brought me to a house, where I made 
enquiries and got some assistance to drive the 
oxen to Mr. Corbet s hotel, finally reaching rnv 
destination, tired and discouraged. 

But I was glad to see my brother William, 
who had arrived from Southampton a short time 
before I came, so that after getting supper I 
was again ready to go to bed, for I had put in 
a most unpleasant day s work. There was at 
the hotel that night a Mr. Broadfoot staving. 



48 



who had come up to look for land and was anx 
ious to accompany us to Southampton on the 
morrow, and assist us in driving the cattle over, 
which proved t*o be no easy task, for we had riv 
ers to cross -and swamps to pass through. But 
by persistent, patience and perseverance we man 
aged to reach the Indian village before dark, and 
after several vain attempts we at last succeeded 
in forcing them to swim the Saugeen River over 
to an island where we left them for the night, 
as there was plenty of grass for them to eat up 
on the island. 

After accomplishing this task we all went 
down the banks of the river to its mouth and 
then crossed by canoe over to Southampton, and 
then to the residence of our friend, Capt. Spence, 
for the night, where we always received generous 
kindness, and after putting in a good night there 
we again set out in the morning to look for the 
oxen, and found them where they had been left, 
and after some little trouble we got them to 
pass over the remainder of the river, and in 
course of time we at length reached our lit 
tle home in safetv, after several days of hard 
toil and suffering. But truly the back seems to 
be made for the burden, for the more we had to 
do the better able we were to do it, and the more 
athletic we became. So great was our power of 
endurance that we would no more feel any ef 
fects from running twenty miles than we would 
formerly do from walking ten, atid when I now 
look back for more than fifty years and think of 
the fatigues and hardships we then endured, and 
the many dangers we came safely through, I am 



49 



filled with wonder and amazement, and the only 
way that I can explain these things is that we 
were both blessed with good healthy constitu 
tions and had always been of temperate habits, 
and had also been very strictly taught and 
trained to continue in such habits by a noble, 
godly mother, whose great influence over us was 
a power! for good in our lives in those days. 

Recovery of Knife 

So in a day or two William got a > yoke made 
and we got the oxen yoked up and ready to 
start logging, but we found them not very tract 
able and a good deal of trouble to manage. They 
did not like to work and every chance they got 
would clear away into the woods, going for 
miles, and although we had a good bell on one 
of them, yet they would go far away beyond its 
hearing, and after all we could not blame the 
poor brutes, for no doubt they were lonely. There 
were no cattle but themselves within many miles 
and they would wander away trying to find the 
road back to where they came from for long dis 
tances, and the only way we had of finding them 
was by following their tracks, and sometimes we 
ran great risks of losing ourselves in the woods. 
We had always to carry a small compass in our 
pocket as it would sometimes take us a whole 
day to find them, and we would often have to 
leave the yoke upon them all night to prevent 
them going away again before morning. 

About this time there were several people com 
ing into this place looking for land, and am 
ongst them was Mr. Peter Smith, who stayed a 
day or two with us and ably assisted us to do 

50 



our logging and clearing up of some land, and 
he afterwards became one of our neighbors, set 
tling on the opposite side of the river from us. 
I am told that Mr. Alexander Smith, the Lib 
eral organizer, is one of his sons. I got another 
surprise about this time. I was told that one 
of the Martindales had found a very valuable 
knife on his way over from the So and a short 
time ago. While he was running he tripped and 
fell with his face almost directly upon the top of 
this knife. And so the first time that I went to 
Southampton I made enquiries, and being per 
fectly able to describe what it was like, he said 
that it was mine, and at once returned it to 
me. This certainly was a very singular inci 
dent, that he should trip at the very spot 
where my knife lay amongst the thick leaves. 

Home Incidents, We Tourney to Guelph 

There were very many events, almost of daily 
occurrence, which would be interesting to relate, 
but I will confine myself principally to those 
which did most personally affect ourselves, as 
they seem to be the most firmly impressed upon 
my memory, and I am anxious to make nothing 
but truthful statements so far as my memory 
will allow or carry me back to those days of 
our early pioneer life. I will again refer to our 
clearing of the land, which we accomplished in a 
short time, and had it all planted with potatoes 
and corn, and besides these we had a nice garden 
of vegetables. As we had not much more use 
for oxen at the pfresent, and they were always a 
charge to look after, I got a chance to sell them 

51 



to Mr. McDonald, who wanted them and offered 
me eighty-five dollars for them. They were a 
very large, heavy pair of cattle, but never had 
done much work and were scarcely what might 
be called properly broken in to work. I shall 
perhaps refer to them again further on in this 
story. My brother and I had promised our 
father before leaving home that if we were all 
well we would return and assist him with the 
haying and harvest, and therefore we had to 
hasten our planting and other work in order to 
keep our promise, and by constant work we 
managed to get things into good shape by the 
time we wanted to leave for Guelph, which was 
about the first of July. 

During the months of May and June a good 
many people had come into Southampton, for it 
was then being surveyed, and amongst some of 
those that I will mention are Mr. McNab, the 
agent; Mr. Peter Brown (I believe a cousin of the 
late Hon. George Brown) and several others 
whose names I do not now remember, and about 
this time also, Mr. Vidal (now Senator Vidal), 
had commenced the survey of the Township of 
Saugeen, and was then prospecting up the river 
near Paisley and working his way down towards 
the mouth of the river. However, William and 
I had to leave before the land was surveyed, and 
began to make preparations for leaving by care 
fully stowing away all destructible household 
effects, such as bedding and every other thing 
that mice could injure or destroy, for they had 
become very numerous and destructive. So we 
made everything up into bundles and suspended 

52 



them from, the rafters of the shanty by cords, 
and when we thought that we had completed the 
work satisfactorily we started on our way over 
to Owen Sound, reaching there in the evening 
and remaining for the night. 

Conclusion of First Trip and Return to Guelph 

The next day we walked as far as Egermont 
and stayed at Smith s hotel for the night, and 
from there we made an early start in the morn 
ing for we were anxious to get home that even 
ing. But we found that travelling that day was 
very fatiguing and painful, as our feet had be 
come very sore and tender from the long walk 
of the previous days in such hot weather, and 
over a hard, dusty road. But when we did at 
length reach the old home of our youth we re 
ceived such a kind and cordial welcome that we 
were inclined to forget all our pains and toils, 
so great was our delight at meeting with loved 
ones once more. 

Beginning of Our Second Migration 

After enjoying a day or two of rest we felt 
able to take part again in the work of the hav 
and harvest fields, and when we had any days to 
spare from home we always found some of our 
neighbors very anxious to secure our assistance 
and in that way we earned over lorty dollars 
in a few weeks. This proved to be of great help 
to us in the wav of purchasing a supply of pro 
visions and groceries and other needful things, 
such as wheat for seed, besides a quantitv of 



miscellaneous articles too numerous to mention. 
Altogether there was a large wagon load, for be 
sides the stuff that we had, our cousin, John 
Caldwell, from Pilkington, who was waiting to 
go along with us to take up land near where we 
had settled, had also some baggage to take 
along. And so we engaged a span of horses and 
wagon from our old neighbor, Mr. Youngson, to 
take us to Walkerton and he sent his man along 
to take care of the horses and bring them home. 

Second Journey 

After we got everything in readiness we made 
our second start for our new home, but we made 
very poor progress on our way up, meeting with 
many mishaps. Our first serious accident was 
the breaking of the hind axle of the wagon. This 
occurred as we were passing along by the Town 
ships of Kgermont and Normandy, and it caused 
us to unload our wagon by the roadside, and as 
there was no wagonmaker s shop in these parts 
rny brother found an elm tree near, by that was 
suitable for the purpose of making a new one, 
and he soon had it hewed out with his axe into 
the proper shape. But the skeans or irons were 
also broken, and we had some trouble .to find a 
blacksmith and when we did succeed in finding 
one he said that he had no coal to do the work, 
but as our case was an urgent one he said that 
if we got him some hemlock bark that he would 
try and do the best he could for us with it un 
der the circumstances. And so he mended them 
in a way thiat they stood the test for years, as 

54 



I was afterwards told by the owner. After this 
delay we got as fetr as Smith s Hotel, staying 
there for the night, as this hotel was at that 
time a favorite stopping place, and then leaving 
early in the morning we reached Mr. Hunter s 
hotel at Durham early in the afternoon and we 
stayed there until morning, when we turned 
down the Durham line towards Walkerton. We 
found this still a very bad road, and we had 
scarcely gone half way down when we had an 
other breakdown. This time it was the wagon 
reach or coupling pole. We had again to unload 
and then William soon found a small tree that 
would make a new one, and he cut it into shape. 
But we had no auger large enough to bore the 
hole for the king bolt to pass through, and one 
of us had to go back several miles to Durham to 
borrow a large auger, and by this delay we 
lost much time, so that we did not get to Walk 
erton until some time after it was quite dark, 
as we were all quite ignorant of the road, which 
we found to be a very rough and uneven one. 
Those on foot had to feel their way first, them 
stand and give me instructions where to drive, 
in order to escape being upset, for there were 
many dangerous places, and it was so dark that 
I could not see the horses. Our teamster refused 
to risk his life upon the wagon, so that I had 
to take charge and drive as I was directed by 
those who were picking the way on foot. For 
tunately we soon reached the river bank and .de 
scending crossed over the bridge, and soon after 
reached Mr. Walker s inn, and when we unloaded 
the wagon in the morning our teamster actuallv 

56 



wept for joy, and was so glad that this tedious 
and harassing journev was now at an end, so 
far as he was concerned, and that he was permit 
ted again to return to civilization. I don t know 
that he was a very stout-hearted gentleman at 
the best. 

As we had lost so much time and had so many 
delays on the ^ay up this far we 
did not want to lose but as little 
time as we could help in preparing 
a scow to take us down the river. Walkerton 
had made quite a little advance since we had 
passed down in the spring. I think Mr. Walker 
Irad erected a saw mill, and there were other 
buildings put up and several people had come 
into the township during the spring and sum 
mer. 

As we could get the lumber from Mr. Walker 
to build the scow we did not require to wait, for 
he could supplv us with what we wanted in that 
line, so that in a few days we were ready to pro 
ceed down the river, which at this time was a 
very different stream from what it was in the 
spring, when we first passed down it. So w r e 
got the scow ready and loaded our stuff upon 
her, and about noon we got aboard and set off, 
and had to keep a sharp lookout some places to 
avoid the shallows. But we were very cautious 
and vsucceeded in passing down without any in 
terruption, and before it got dark we ran into 
the shore and. there tied up for the night, just a 
few miles before we reached what is now Paisley 
town. On the next morning we made an early 
start and arrived safely down at our own, hum- 

56 



ble looking home in the evening, feeling thankful 
for our safe return to its shelter, but at the 
same time a little depressed by its lonely condi 
tion. On our way down the river we no 
ticed here and there a few trees chopped, but no 
actual settlement in sight. But there had quite 
an advancement been made about Southampton 
and along the lake shore. 

Our Arrival Home and Delight in the Fortune of 
Our Location, Mice Plague 

You may conceive of our surprise when we 
looked around the next morning to find a stake 
a little in front of our shanty door, with our 
names marked by the surveyor on both sides, and 
that our little thirteen feet square shanty stood 
upon two lots, about equal parts on each, and 
we also had our names written upon the two 
rear lot stakes in the same way, and a road or 
highway running between them, so that we 
could not have been better suited, nor desired 
more nor better treatment than we had received 
from Senator Vidal, who surveyed the township 
during our absence. But we knew that although 
we were away we had some true friends left be 
hind us, and although there was some trouble in 
some quarters regarding first claim upon lots, 
we never had the least degree of trouble. 

Although we found everything so satisfactory 
outside of our shanty the inside was quite the 
reverse, for although we had used the precaution 
to make up into bundles and suspend from the 
rafters all our bedding and destructible stuff be- 

5; 



fore leaving, yet upon our return we found that 
the mice had taken advantage of our absence and 
had made a nursery for hatching amongst our 
bedding, and cut everything that came in their 
way. So innumerable were the swarms of wood 
or white bellied mice (sometimes known as deer 
mice), that we found it to be impossible for us 
to keep our eatables in any place that they 
would not get them, except in our round iron 
bake kettle with close-fitting lids. Close wooden 
boxes were of no use, for they would gnaw 
through them in quick time, and now that we 
had returned with plenty of fresh supplies in 
the way of provisions and seed wheat their num 
bers seemed to increase tenfold, and so great did 
the plague of mice become that we were put to 
our wits end, and it became a problem whether 
they would not drive us out and get full posses 
sion. We used every conceivable means of de 
stroying them by every kind of trap that we 
could invent, and sometimes we would be able to 
get the lend of a cat for a few days, but nothing 
seemed to have any effect in lessening their num 
bers. Thev seemed to increase all the more rap 
idly, arid so daring were they that if we left the 
table a moment to fetch the tea or coffee pot 
from the hearth, whenever our backs were turn 
ed, thev would come and snatch our ham or 

*/ 

bread from our plate and ran away with it in 
a moment. My brother often caught them with 
his hands a^d killed them by the dozen while 
sitting at the table, for he had made a candle 
stick out of a piece of basswood, and I have of 
ten seen the mice run up and bite the candle 

58 



while we would be sitting reading by its light 
in the evening, and we found as fall and winter 
approached that their numbers kept increasing, 
and the more tenaciotus they became; so much so 
that when we were in bed alid asleep at night, 
we would often be awakened by mice pulling at 
oftir hair and cfutting our bed covers in order to 
get the cotton wadlding, or Our hair to make 
themselves nests. I assure you we were 
not the only ones that were pester 
ed with the plague of mice, for all 
of our neighbors had their share of 
trouble to bear with the same nuisance. Yet, not 
withstanding these pests, we kept constantly 
employed in clearing up the land, and making 
other needed improvements. So anxious were we 
in this undertaking that we often neglected to 
make any preparations for our next meal, and 
when at work we became so thoroughly tired and 
hungry that we could suffer no longer, we would 
go into the shanty, make a fire, and then pa 
tiently wait until we got something cooked and 
ready to aplpease our hunger, and we often used 
to declare that this wotald be the last time that 
we would be so foolish as to go to work without 
having some food prepared that we could eat 
upon our return without having to wait so long. 
But these resolutions were like piecrust, only 
made to be brdken, for as soon as we got a 
good meal, and were satisfied, off to work we 
would go, and never think about the next meal, 
and thus we put in rather a dreary time. But 
hope carried us on, for we looked forward to 
the time, in the very near future, when we would 

59 



be blessed with a comfortable home and the 
happy influences of sweet domestic association. 
But during this time we made frequent visits to 
Southampton, where we would meet with old 
friends, such as Mr. McDonald, who had bought 
a small vessel called the Saucy Jack, and was 
sailing her between Go*derich and Southampton, 
and would bring passengers and goods, which 
was of very great service to the place. So, 
sometimes after a verv short visit at the home 
of our friend, Capt. Spence, and tasting of the 
comforts enjoyed under such social surroundings, 
it had the effect of making us more dissatisfied 
with our own present condition in our poor 
shanty life, and of the misery attendant upon 
the keeping of bachelor s hall. 

Incident of the Bear 

I must not forget to relate an incident that oc 
curred about this time, in which I was intimate 
ly connected. There was word sent up from 
Southampton urgently requesting one of us to 
go down to the pine lands and remain there in 
possession of it for a short time, for there were 
parties at present in search of such land, and 
were making every enquiry where to obtain such. 
So I volunteered to go diown and remain for a 
time in possession, or until the danger was past. 
I made a small raft for the purpose of taking me 
down the river, and I put up a small supfply of 
provisions, and providing myself with a blank 
et, and putting some matches in my pocket, anjd 
taking my axe and a double-barrelled gun that 

60 



I had borrowed from Mr. Brown. After getting 
mvself so thoroughly equipped, I and the dog 
got aboard the little raft to descend the river. 
I may say here that this dog was 
a very poor, miserable, half starved an 
imal that took up with us, and fol 
lowed us when we were coming down the 
Durham line with the wagon. The poor thing 
was very hungry and we took compassion upon 
him and fed him, and now he had become much 
changed in appearance, and was growing quite 
fierce and daring. Karly in the afternoon I 
reached the spot and landed, and looked over the 
ground and cut down a tree here and there, 
in order to secufre possession, and as I had 
not seen nor heard anyone around, nor the ap 
pearance of anyone having been there, early in 
the evening I cut some wood and made a fire 
in the woods, back some distance from the river, 
and when it began to get dark I spread my mat 
on the ground, eat my lunch and put on a good 
fire, and then laid down to rest u(pon my blank 
et, my axe and gun close by my si : de, and the 
dog lay close up to my back. In this way I had 
gone into a very sound sleep, for a long time, 
as the fire had all burned up and nothing re 
mained but ashes. All at once I was awakened 
in a great hurry. The dog had jumped np and was 
barking fiercely close by my side. I immediately 
sprang to my feet and commenced to stir up the 
fire, at the same time urging on the dog, who 
would not leave my side, but kept barking fur 
iously, with the hair upon his back standing on 
end. I knew that there was something nearby 

61 



that he was afraid of, an<d as I stirred the fire 1 
found a piece of stick that had some fire on cne 
end, and this I kept shaking in the air until it 
became bright. With this in one han d and the 
gun in the other, and the dog a foot or two in 
advance, I kept swinging the stick, urging on 
the dog, and following in the direction indicated 
by him. I had not gone many yards in that 
way before I heard, close by me, the trampling 
of some heavy animal, and by the breaking of 
the brush I knew that it was a large bear, so I 
swung my stick around in the air and threw it 
in the direction of the sound that I heard, and 
then retreated in haste to make on a good fire, 
the dog following close at my heels. I put off 
no time before making a good fire, so as to give 
light, for I knew that my safety depended much 
upon keeping up a good bright light. However, 
I heard nothing more of the intruder that night, 
as I kept on a blazing good fire. I have no 
doubt but it was Mr. Bruin, thinking to make 
an early breakfast by catching me sleeping, 
which no doubt he could have done if it had not 
been for the dog, that awoke me in time, and I 
may mention that this dog was afterwards pre 
sented to Mr. Peter Brown at his request. After 
taking some breakfast, I sauntered about the 
greater part of the day, and in the afternoon T 
started to return back tome, as I did not care 
to run the risk for another night of becoming 
food for the bear, and as I had brought the pock 
et conrpass along with me, I took what I be 
lieved would be a straight couirse to our home, 
and succeeded in reaching there before it was 

62 



dark, and was gladly welcomed safe home once 
more. But as the days became shorter and the 
evenings longer, we had no way of amusing our 
selves but by reading. We had no newspapers 
and very few books, but we would sit and read 

I 

turn about, by the ligtfit of a tallow candle, and 
of the Bible chapter after chapter. We were aU-o 
greatly interested in reading the writings of the 
Rev. Dr. F. W. Krummatoher on the prophets 
Elijah and Klisha. These, along witji Bunyan s 
Pilgrim s Progress, comprised nearly all the 
stock of our reading matter, for no sooner had 
we settled into a home of our own than we set 
up and established family worship in our poor 
shantv, and although we were only tjhtree young 
men, we seldom neglected the dfaty, for Cousin 
John was still with us.at that time, and whe 
ther we had strangers remaining over nigiht with 
us, or we were alone, it made no difference to us 
in that respect, and we would have all kinds of 
people staying over for a night, for there were 
manv coming from different parts of the coun 
try looking for lanld. We had a stmall cedar raft 
that we used in crossing the river. This raft 
would carry the three of us and the dog nicely 
across the river, and we used to fer 
ry a great many across both ways, 
and amongst the number we had a 
quiet, pious, middle-aged man, from Nova 
Scotia, who remained with us during the night. 
The next morning, after breakfast, this gentle- 
mian wanted to cross over, for he wanted to go 
and see the new Township of Bruce. So I said 
that I would tfUce him over, but when we came 

63 



to the edge of the river he said that he was 
afraid to trust himself upon that raft to cross 
that large river. I told him that there was not 
the slightest danger, that we crossed and re- 
crossed it, several times, almost every day, with 
two or three upon that raft, and that if he want 
ed to get oVer not to be afraid but get on, and I 
brought the raft u p to the edge and he got upon 
it, and got down upon his knees on the raft and 
commented to pray. I pushed the raft oil into 
the stream and I noticed that it was sinking 
very much deeper in the water tjian usual, and I 
told him that I thought he would be better 
standing up, for he was getting wet, but he an 
swered me by saying that he preferred to re 
main upon his knees, and he continued in this 
position, with his eves closed, earnestly engaged 
in prayer, although his end of the raft was sunk 
about a foot under the water, and when we 
reached dry land, although wet nearly up to 
his waist from kneeling, he thanked me, and 
said that he would never run the risk of cross 
ing- that river again, for rather thaft do so he 
would travel by land all the way to Goderich 
and get back home by that way. Such an effect 
had that man s mind over his body, caused by 
fear, that he was like a lump of le;id, more than 
a man. 

Home Events Continued, Callers and Indians 

I must say that we rather enjoyed having 
strangers calling and conversing with us, for we 
received a good deal of outside information in 

64 



that way that we would not otherwise have 
heard, and some of them were greatly pleased 
and delighted with the situation and surround 
ings of our place, and declared that it was a 
perfect paradise. We said that no dofabt but the 
place was all right if we only had a few more of 
the comforts of civilization, but we hoped that 
before many years the conditions would be 
changed for the better. Amongst other visitors, 
and in the way of variety, we would receive 
calls from the Indians, who were often passing 
up and down the river in their canoes, spearing 
fish and shooting ducks, and it was movSt sur 
prising to see how expert they were in the man 
aging of their canoes, for they would dart about 
after the sturgeon at great speed, and the 
squaws. were just as quick and skilful in manag 
ing the canoes as the men, for they would stand 
with a foot on each side, on the top of the can 
oe, and dart it about after the fish like a shot, 
while the men would use the spear, and often 
thev would get a number of fish which they 
would exchange for bread with the settlers when 
they could do so. They used to come up to our 
shanty and stalnd outside, by the door, and 
halloo loudly, and when we would leave our 
work to see what was wanted, they would say 
"tobacco," and when we told them that we had 
none, as we did not use it, they would then pat on 
their stomachs, and say "buckity." That meant 
that they were hfungry and if we had any bread 
we would give them something to eat. They 
were always peaceable and. quietly disposed, and 
would not attempt to enter if there were no one 

65 



around, but would soon go away, although the 
door was not locked. But they were very sus 
picious of being cheated in their dealings with 
white men, and no doubt but they frequently 
suffered from having been taken advantage of 
in tneir dealings, and to give an idea of how cal 
lous an Indian can become, I will give an in 
stance that occurred at that time at the mouth 
of the Saugeen River. A few young men had 
gone out in a boat, and while crossing the river 
near the lake the boat got upset and, while they 
were all struggling in the water and calling for 
help, an Indian stood with his canoe on the 
shore near by, and answered back to their pite 
ous cries for help, "How much zo give, then 
me go? For, no doubt, he saw a good oppor 
tunity at that moment to drive a hard bargain 
with those who were desperately struggling in 
the water for life. They were rescued by others, 
but little thanks to the Indian, who stoo d by 
coolly looking on. 

During the fall months the surveying of Sau 
geen Township was completed, and there were 
large numbers of people coming in looking for 
land, and the agent, Mr. McNab, was very anx 
ious to secure the better class of settlers, an)d he 
gave every encouragement to such as wished to 
locate upon land. We had also quite a number 
call upon ns in their travels,. and this caused us 
to make frequent trips to Southampton, in or 
der to keep up the supiply of provisions, and 
wihile there, at the home of Capt. Spence, we 
would have the pleasure of meeting with such 
old acquaintances as John Mclyean, Bsq., an 



66 



old merchant from Guelph, and his nephew, Mr. 
A. McDonald, also Mr. McNab, the agent, and 
his son, John, a lad of about fourteen, who 
came up from; Toronto during- the August of 1851. 
(And I had the pleasure of meeting him again 
at his own home in Southampton, in August, 
1902, and conversed freely with him about old 
times and the great change that h as been 
wrought in the country since we first met, fifty- 
one years ago, and just abont as great a change 
has taken place in his appearance and mine since 
we were boys then, but now old, white-haired 
men.) At one of these social meetings at the 
home of Capt. Spence we all spoke of our inten 
tion to return to our old home before Christ 
mas, and then we agreed also to meet at Mr. 
Spence s house and all travel together in com 
pany from there over to Owen Sound. But as 
Mr. McDonald was going to make some trips 
to Goderich with his vessel, we promised to 
await his return to Southampton at the end of 
the sailing season. But he deferred his return 
long beyond the usnial time for sailing on the 
lake. 

Incidents of New Settlers, Mr* Gowinlock and the 

Tracks 

I will relate an incident that occurred shortly 
after our return from Guelph, about this time, 
just to give a little idea of the wonderful am 
ount of confidence and genial kindlness and hos 
pitality that existed amongst the early settlers 
of the country. 

67 



One fine afternoon we noticed a large, heavily- 
laden raft coming down the river, and to our 
surprise we saw that it was being pushed right 
across to our lan ding place, and there they com 
menced to unload, and as we did not know who 
the parties were, we went to see and asked him 
what he was doing, when he said that he had 
lately selected a lot of land and that he was go 
ing to leave his wife and family with us until 
he could get a house plit up for themselves, and 
of course we could not say nio. This gave us 
the pleasure of entertaining Mrs. Mclyean and her 
twin babies and nurse girl for about a week in 
our small shanty, and strange as it may seem, 
we felt no real inconvenience, nor were we great 
ly inconvenienced during their stay with us. This 
Mr. Mcl/ean settled on a fine farm a little east 
of Burg.oine, on tjie roa d to Tar a, but I am told 
that he au d most all of the early settlers of 
those days have passed away, anJd those who 
were brought in with their parents over fifty 
years ago are now old men and women. 

I will take the liberty of here relating a rath 
er laughable incident that occurred this fall, just 
shortly after a very heavy fall of snow. I had 
occasion to go up the river one morning to see 
our neighbor, Mr. Gowinlock, about something, 
and I fouind that he was just then making pre 
parations to go down the river to Southamp 
ton, and we were walking back in company and 
had got about half way to our shanty, when we 
came across the tracks of some one who was out 
shooting an d walking upon snow shoes. Our 
friend, Mr. Gowinlock, had never seen anything 

68 



of the kind before, an4 when he came to the 
tracks he was struck with amazement and 
alarm at seeing them, and standing still, held 
up his hands with this exclamation, "O the 
the Ivord preserve us and what kind of great 
nxuckle beast can that be? O I hope that it ll 
no devour us. See the marks of its great big 
feet. And when he saw that I was smiling, he 
said, "Do ye ken what kin<d o beast it is?" I 
said yes, that it was not a beast, but the track 
of a man walking upon snow shoes. He said, 
"Dear me. Well, I was wondering that a great 
beast, halving feet of that size di d not sink much 
deeper in the snow." 

Some time about the beginning of November, 
in the year 1851, or near the time when this last 
related event took place with Mr. Gowinlock 
and the snow shoes, I had been invited to at 
tend a local temperance meeting, which was go 
ing to be held in Southampton on a certain 
evening about that time, and although our num 
bers were not large, yet it was a very social 
gathering. Besides some of the Indians would 
take an interest in the proceedings and give us a 
specimen of their native oratory, and sing some 
of their temperance songs. In their speeches 
thev would tell us of some of the awful effects 
that "squitee wabboo, or fire water, had 
wrought amongst their people in the past. 

An.d just while in the mi dtet of the entertain 
ment, our worthy president, Alexander McNab, 
Esq., land agent, said that he desired to call 
the attention of those present to a most import 
ant and pleasing event, and it gave him very 

69 



great pleasure to be able to introduce to those 
present, no less a personage than Mr. Simon 
Orchard, the pioneer of Paisley, who has just ar 
rived amongst us, having driven his oxen and 
sled, or jumper, through the woods, and as his 
was the first vehicle drawn by animals that was 
ever known to arrive in this place it created 
quite a little sensation. Mr. Orchard stated 
that it had taken him two days to accomplish 
this jou rney, as he had to slash his way through 
the woods with his axe. The snow was not yet 
much over a foot deep. This seemingly small 
event had nearly the same effect upon the inhab 
itants of that time as the arrival of a first rail- 
wav train woluld have at the present day, and 
neither are these old events soon forgotten. As 
an instance, I h ad the pleasure of spending a 
short time with my old friends, Captain and 
Mrs. Spence, in the autumn of 1902, and while 
talking over old events I was reminded by Mrs. 
Spence that Mrs. McNab and herself enjoyed 
their first sleigh ride with me in the early win 
ter of 1853, a circumstance I had never thought 
of. But she said that Mrs. McNab and herself 
often spoke with great delight of how greatly 
they had enjoyed it. 

Local Events and Regrets 

So we continued at our new home and took up 
the potatoes and disposed of some of them to 
Capt. Spence and Mr. Brown, who came utp and 
made a raft, a^d went down the river with the 
potatoes. Mr. Peter Brown had removed to 

70 



Southampton with his family during the sum 
mer, and at his house we always found a kind 
home and warm welcome. I may also say that 
our cousin, John Caldwell, who had come ufp 
with us and remained for a time, had selected a 
lot or two and then returned to Pilkington with 
the intention of coming back in the spring, but 
he, having afterwards taken up land in .the new 
Township of Minto, did not return, but dis 
posed of his claims afterwards to Messrs. Wil 
liam and Joseph Stirtin. These gentlemen, 
along with their brother, John, who also settled 
near by the others, all became prominent men 
and leading farmers in that community. They 
all came from near Guelph and were brothers of 
o ur venerable old member for South Wellington, 
David Stirtin, who still lives and holds the posi 
tion of postmaster for the city of Guelph. He is 
now a very aged gentleman, and was one of the 
first settlers aroun ; d Guelph. 

My brother and I were mostly left alone daw- 
ing these short, dark days of fall, and as winter 
approached the weather grew more disagreeable. 
Still we continued to underbrush and chop down 
the trees, until the snow became too deep to do 
much outside. That season the snow came very 
early and we found ourselves almost entirely cut 
off from communication on all sides, for the riv 
er was nearly frozen oiver and it was impassable, 
owing to the floating ice, and nothing could be 
seen but snow everywhere and upon everything,- 
deep snow. This had a very depressing and sad 
dening effect upon William and I, apid we both 
keenly felt our lonely and isolated condition, 

71 



and often regretted our folly by ever coming to 
such a place. We would long for a change, and 
greatly did we desire the associations of more 
cheerful companionship, for we felt our condi 
tion to be a very monotonous one. 

Local Events, Preparations for Return, etc. 

However, time passed on, and the day at last 
had come When we were to leave and go to 
Southampton to meet with ! those that we had 
made an appointment with, to meet at the home 
of Capt. Spence, and after we had made all ne 
cessary preparations for our journey, as we did 
not intend returning before spring, we started 
to walk down the bants of the river through the 
deep snow, until we reached a place in the river 
where we knew the water to be deep and it had 
very little current. This part we knew to be 
frozen over, and so risked crossing there, and al 
ter using all precaution and carefully picking 
our way, we succeeded in reaching the opposite 
side in safety, and close to the residence of Mr. 
Peter Smith. There we heard from Mrs. Smith 
the sad rumor of the los<s of the "Saucy Jack," 
and that Capt. MIcDooiald and all on board of 
her were drowne/d. This intelligence had the ef 
fect of casting a gloom of sadness over our al 
ready depressed spirits, and it required some ef 
fort to enable usi to make our way through the 
deep and little trodden snow, through the woods 
to the beach, and when we reached the lake shore 
we, found the wind intensely cold and piercing. 
There we saw the marks of a hand-sleigh, which 

72 



had lately passed along towa rds Southampton, 
and which we soon discovered was taking the 
remains of young Martinidale, who was found 
drowned in the hol;d of the vessel. All the others 
seemed to have been washed overboard, and 
their bodies were not founid ujntil the ice melted 
away in the spring. The crew consisted (so far 
as was then known), of the captain and owner, 
Mr. A. McDonald, and the two brothers Martin- 
dale, who came down the river in our scow with 
us in the spring, and they each, I understood, 
left young widows an/d small families. The cir 
cumstances were so exceedingly sad that it had 
a serious effect upojn the small community in 
every way, for the vessel was returning from 
Goderioh very late in the season, and was laden 
with flour and all other suipplies that were re 
quired for the inhabitants of Southampton dur 
ing the winter. The vessel, it apjpears, had been 
completely overturned by the storm, as her sails 
were fo,u;nd to be wound all around her, and ev 
erything aboard of her was washed away, and 
at this time all their provisions in Southampton 
had been consumed, an,d they were all patiently 
awaiting the arrival of this long-delayed boat 
for fresh supplies. You may imagine the con 
sternation and alarm caused by this sad catas 
trophe. I was told that our friend, Mr. McDon 
ald, ha)d remained m/u ch longer in Goderich than 
was prudent at this season of the year. But 
there was an election in the County of Huron 
going on at the time and so anxious was he to 
assist his friend, the Hon. Malcolm Cameron, in 
his election that he had neglected to return in 



proper season, and thus it ended with such serious 
results to so many, for all were coincerned, for 
there was no way of getting any nrore supplies 
during the winter but by packing it across by 
the trail through the woods from Owen Sound, 
and this, at that time, would have been a hope 
less job, for, owing to the deep fall of snow, 
there had been n|o communication with Owen 
Sound for some weeks. 

When we reached Southampton it was not sur- 
pjrising to see that everyone was wearing a 
verv melancholy countenance, and had a sad 
look, anid we also met quite a number of young 
men awaiting our arrival and wanting to pro 
ceed at once acnoss to the Sound, and although 
they knew that there had been no travel, nor 
anv path to guide their way through this great 
forest covered with deep, untrodden snow, yet, 
OAving to the sad misfortuine that had just hap 
pened in the loss of the vessel containing all the 
supplies, it made it expedient that we should 
depart at once. So, ufcpn the following morn 
ing, six brave, stout-hearteid young men, sup 
plied only with a biscuit or two each, started to 
cross the river in a large canoe owned by Alex. 
Butchart, and after several very close shaves 
from being upset by the large quantity of float 
ing ice that was then at the m,outh of the river, 
they ultimately succeeded in reaching the other 
side, when they then commenced their perilous, 
long journey through the woods, and as nearly as 
I can remember the party consisted of six young 
men, Messrs. George Gray, William Kennedy, 
Thos. Burgess, Clement Ceifect, and a Mr. Mill- 

74 



wood and Silverthorne. These poor fellows 
found a hard road to travel. Mr. McNab, wh-o 
was not quite ready to start with the others in 
the morning, prevailed upon me to remain with 
him until the afternoon, when we would all 
cross the river and go as far up as the Indian 
village, and remain at the house of Mr. Cathay 
for the night. 

So, early in the afterndpn, we, that is to say, 
Mr. McNab and his son, John, Mr. Chisholm 
Millar, the surveyor, who had been surveying 
the Township of Bruce, and myself, were accom 
panied to the river s edge by many friends Who 
were solicitous about our getting safely across 
owing to the amount of floating ice, which made 
the passage dver very dangerous, and the boat 
that was being used was a very small one and 
could not carry us all over in one trip. So 
Captain Spenice anti Mr. Reid, who had charge 
of the boat, asked Mr. McNab and John to get 
in and they would take them over first, and 
then return for Mr. Millar and me. After cau 
tiously pushing their way through the ice and 
using some exertion in their efforts, they reach 
ed the other side, where Mr. McNab and John 
remained, an d also Capt. Spence, who had been 
rather unwell for some days, felt the exertion 
required in the managing of the boat rather hard 
upon him, and so Mr. Reid volunteered to bring 
back the boat for Mr. Millar and me. But when 
he got back into the swift current amongst the 
ice he seemed to have lost all control of tjie 
boat, and kept going arotirtd and around with 
the ice and was being carried right into the 

75 



lake, while Capt. Spence, who saw the eminent 
ly dangerous condition of affairs, kept pace with 
the boat down the river s edge, and at the en 
trance into the lake there ha,d formed a jam of 
ice, where fortunately Mr. Reid managed to 
get in ainft Caipt. Spence, walking out upon the 
ice, reached the boat and succeeded in getting 
into her, when he soon brought her over to us 
again. But while all this was going on we were 
all standing on the opposite shore powerless and 
speechless, with our hearts in our mouths, and 
I confess that I was trembling with fear from 
head to foot, for when I entered that little boat 
I scarcely expected ever to reach the other side. 
So when Mr. Millar and I got seated in the boat 
it was with much misgiving on my part, and 
when we had gotten out into the mididle of the 
river and amongst the flow of ice, one of the 
rowlocks gave way and the boat became un 
manageable, and I then felt sure that our end 
had come and that was just what I expected 
would happen, for we were being carried rapidly 
down into the lake. 

So near were we that when the surf of the lake 
struck our little boat the water would dash all 
over us and would soon have filled the boat, 
when Mr. Millar with great presence of mind 
got down and lay in the bottom of the boat and 
secured the bolt that had dropped out, put it 
back into its place, and lay there and held it in 
place. This enabled Capt. Spence to guide and 
control the boat to the opposite shore, which we 
at length reached and landed upon the quickly 
forming ice, when Capt. Spence, taking the lead, 

76 



safely guided us to the edge, where we were 
joined by Mr. McNab and John, who had closely 
watched us through the distressing circumstances 
by which we were surrounded. So, after bidding 
each other a parting farewell, Capt. Spence an d 
Mr. Reid returned to Southampton, and we 
four pursued our way up the river banks to the 
Indian village, and to the house of Mr. Cathay, 
where we were kindly received and entertained 
for the night. 

As Mr. MicNab had previously engaged two 
men to carry over his packs to Owen Sound this 
made our number up to six also, the same as 
had passed along in the morning. 

After spending a pleasant evening with Mr. 
and Mrs. Cathay, upon the next morning, after 
partaking of an early breakfast, we six started 
on our journev, following closely in the foot 
steps of the six who had passed along the morn 
ing before us. Notwithstanding that we had 
the advantage of a partly broken path, we made 
but slow progress an^d found the travelling very 
fatiguing and our you/ng friend, Johjn, had the 
misfortune of getting his feet wet very frequent 
ly, for in crossing over creeks or other wet 
places he would be sure to slip into them and 
get wet. Although his father had a good supply 
of dry stockings along in the packs, yet it was 
no pleasant undertaking to sit down in. the deep 
snow anid put on d|ry ones, which he very fre 
quently had to do. This young gentleman was 
scarcely fifteen years of age and had been ten 
derly brought up in the city of Toro.nto, and 
was quite unaccustomed to endure hardships of 

77 



any kind, so before noon, and after we had trav 
elled several miles through the snow, John got 
so tired that he became almost p owerless, and 
seemed to lose all control over his legs, and 
would slip into every conceivable place of dan 
ger. We tried to render all possible assistance, 
but we found it very difficult to do much, owing 
to the great depth of snow and the narrowness 
of the path, and this stopping so often to change 
stockings caused some delay anid hindered us 
much in our journey. But his father displayed 
so much real patience and kindness with John 
that Mr. Millar and I felt heartily sorry for 
them, and more especially when John would 
plead with his father and all of us to go on and 
leave him there, for he never would get through 
and it was useless for us to sacrifice our lives in 
orders to try and save him. Of course we did not 
listen to such talk and only put forth the great 
er efforts to help him, anid about two o clock, 
just a short time after we crossed the Sobble 
River, we came upon a spot where there had 
been a fire very lately, and I said to Mr. McNab 
and the others that I was sure from the appear 
ance of the place and from the way that the 
ssnow was stam\ped and tracked about that the 
six poor fellows who started a day before us 
were here last night, when Mr. McNab replied, 
"O, for God s sake, do not say so." I said that 
I hoped that I might be, mistaken, but I was 
very much afraid that it would only prove to 
be too true. 

So we continued our slow march, Mr. Millar 
and I rendering every possible assistance to Mr. 



78, 



John, for he had by this time become nearly 
quite helpless, and we tried every way to help 
him along-. I tried to carry him u>pio)n my back, 
but the snow was so deep and the path so very 
narrow, and John had no power or control over 
his legs to keep them turned tup out of the snow, 
but allowed them to hang- down on each side of 
me, and make two deep ruts in the snow like 
two sticks, so I had to give up this method of 
conveyance and try some easier mojde of accom 
plishing my purpose. Having around me a long 
sash or cravat I tied it across my shoulders and 
gave him the ends to hold on by and his father 
would walk behind him and steady him up. We 
managed by that way to make a little progress, 
but at short intervals he would let himself drop 
down into the snow and almost draw me upon 
the to p of him, and after about two hours of 
this process I became exceedingly , tired and said 
that we might: just as well give up all hopes of 
getting through to-night as we were very little 
more than half way, and if Mr. Millar would 
take mv place and assist Mr. McNab that I 
would hasten foirward and prepare some place 
where we could remain for the night, and short 
ly after we made this arrangement, I started 
forwar.d at a more rapid pace and had not gone 
very far before I overtook Mr. McNab s two 
men, who carried his packs, whom I soon passed. 
I told them what I was going to do, and short 
ly afterwards I came upon a place where the 
track of those who had preceded us branched off 
into different directions. I could see that they 
had lost their way and that they ,had become 



confused, but pursuing what I thought to be 
the most direct line I soon came to a place 
where the tracks had all united again into one 
path, and I could see also that the tracks were 
very fresh and that I was getting very close up 
on the first party, so I did not stop as I intend 
ed doing, to erect a place of shelter, but pressed 
on, for it was now getting dark and I soon saw 
at a little distance ahead a gleam of ligfct, and 
in a few miniutes mpre I came upon the first 
party of six. They had reached a deserted shan 
ty that had been p,ut up duritng the summer. 
This they had taken possession of anjd they were 
trying to p;ut themselves into the best position 
available under such circumstances, but I can 
not say that any of them looked >hapipy or con 
tented, nor were they in the most agreeable 
state of disposition or temper, for, after two 
days tramping in the deep snow without food, 
their suffering may be conceived. 

After giving and. receiving some explanations 
regarding our several conditions, I asked for 
some one of them to go back with me and try 
to assist forward those still behind us up to this 
place, but no one felt able or willing to do so, 
they were all so tired out and hungry that they 
could not stir. But after a good deal of plead 
ing with them, Thos. Burgess at length consent 
ed to accompany me back. After walking some 
distance and hallooing frequently we at last got 
a reply, and then threw ourselves down in the 
snow ain d awaited their slow arrival. These 
turned out to be M r. McNab s two men with his 
packs. They said that as they did not see any 
thing more of me after I had passed them, al 



though they had travelled until it got dark, they 
had thrown themselves down in the snow and in 
tended to remain there for the night. But when 
they heard us shouting they got up and came 
forward, although they had neither heard nor 
seen anything of the remainder of our party 
since I had passed them. So then Mr. Burgess 
and I went back with them to the shanty, and 
after remaining there for about an hour I again 
prevailed upon Mr. Burgess to accompany me 
back once more to see and bring in the missing 
ones of our party, and so we travelled slowly 
back again over the same path. We kept giving 
ati occasional shioiut as we travelled in hope of 
receiving an answer, but we had to go back some 
distance before we got any reply. But when we 
did get qne we again threw ourselves down in 
the snow, intending to remain where we were 
until they came utp to u;s, but they kept u such 
a continuous halloo and shouting that we were 
forced to get up and go and meet them, and I 
must say that they were needing some help, for 
both their strength and patience were nearly ex 
hausted, so I relieved Mr. Millar of any further 
duties for the present, so that he anjd Mr. Bur 
gess then at once started for the shanty, leav 
ing me to assist John. I tied my comforter 
around my shoulder again, and by this means, 
with the assistance of his father, we reached the 
shanty before midnight, where we founid the oth 
ers already all huddled up in a mixed heap,, each 
one trying to make the best thing possible out 
of it, under all the circtimstalnces. So Mr. Mc- 
Nab opened out his pack and took out a rug an<d 

81 



a buffalo robe, whidh he shared with some of us. 
Thus we passed the night, and when daylight 
began to appear we all made ready for an early 
start, and as we did not wait for brea.kfast we 
soon got ready for the tramp, where Mr. Millar 
and I were expected to take rhe lead in doing 
the first breaking up of a path, as many of the 
others had already had two days of the experi 
ence and w.ere used uip and unable to take any 
more, an active part in the performance. So as 
soon as it was light enough to see the way we 
set off, taking each our turn, in opening a 
path through the deep trackless snow, anid the 
others following us in single file, and when the 
leader became exhausted he would drop to one 
side amongst the snow, and the next would take 
the leaid, but bv this time there were not more 

w 1 

than dne or two that had strength enough left 
to force their way through the deep snow, and 
so they always stayed in the rear. I remember 
on one occasion I was taking the lead and 
we were passing through a long swamp and ev 
erything was so deeply covered with snow that 
no sign of any path was to be seen, when all at 
once I sank down to the neck amongst brush. I 
had got upon the top of some fallen tree. Mr. [Mil 
lar, wto was close behind me, turned a little to 
one side anjd by that means escaped falling into 
the same trap upon to of me. 

However I soon managed to extricate myself 
and regain the proper path, and thus we journey 
ed on in comparative silence. You may imagine 
our joy and delight when about one o clock we 
saw a clearing and called out to each other to 

82 



take courage for here is a clearing, and this 
news put new energy into the hearts of tihe poor, 
despairing ones, for the most of them had begun 
to despair of evetr getting out of the woo dis. In 
a short time we reached the home of M ( r. Jimby, 
but found only Mrs. Jimby and children at the 
house. We soon made our condition known and 
she hastened at once to prepare food. The 
Messrs. Jimby had gone down with two yoke of 
oxen arid a sleigh that rooming to Owen Sound, 
in order to break a track through the deep snow, 
for there had been no travel since the heavy 
snow storm. We felt a little disap 
pointed at this information, as we haid fully in 
tended When we reached Mr. Jimby s to engage 
him to take us all to Owen Soiled with his oxen 
and sleigh. But the benefit of having the road 
broken with the cattle and sleigh would be of 
-reat help to us in the latter part of our jour 
ney. Mrs. Jimby soon had a quantity of pork 
fried and bread and tea prepared, but we made 
up a rather large company to be waited up 
on all at Once, and Mr. McNab in his magnani 
mous way suggested that those of the first 
party be attended to x first, as they had been the 
longest without food. You may be assured that 
Mrs. Jimby had no time to lose for it kept 4ier 
very busy for some time cutting bread, frying 
meat and pouring tea into cups, and after we 
had all gotten our immediate wants supplied 
Mr. McNab asked to be permitted to remunerate 
in a slight measure Mrs. Jimby for the bountiful 
supper she had so quickly prepared for us in our 
extremitv. As it was wearing towards evening 



and we had yet five miles more of a journey to 
make before we reached the Sound, we all set off 
upon the last stage of our travel and we found it 
very much easier to walk after getting! some din 
ner and also f,rom the track of the oxen and 
sleigh in the morning, and when we had gone 
about half way we met Messrs. Jimby on their 
return from Owen Sound, whiclh had the effect 
of still further improving our path, so, after our 
hard experience, we all reached the Sound at 
last, anjd thankful were we to find ourselves once 
more within the comfortable hostelry of our old 
friend, Mr. Corbet. After a short rest we all 
made preparations for pursuing the remaining 
part of our journey to our several homes, some 
by stage or other modes of conveyance, and thus 
we parted, all hoping to meet again in the near 
future under more pleasant circumstances. In a 
few days more we reached our old home near 
Guelph, the day before Christmas, and were 
gladly welcomed back by our friends and ac 
quaintances, and thus ende d our first year, with 
much of the experience of what a pioneer life 
means in the early settlement of the ne\v coun 
try, in the County of Bruce, in the year 1851. 

Making Preparations for Returning 

For the winter and early spring of 1852 
we remained at our old home and greatly did we 
relish arid appreciate the change of conditions. 
All this made us feel that there was no place 
like home. It was so very different from wnat 
we had so lately experienced in every way, for 

84 



here we were again invited to taste 
of the comforts of life and to take 
a part in many of the pleasures and 
enjoyments of the happy social gatherings 
so fascinating to our youthful minds. There is 
no dioubt at all but we had aur future plajnp al 
ready formed about all these things, but the 
time for their fruition had not yet come, but we 
hoped 1 sooft to be able to erect comfortable 
hocuses at our new homes, and then we wojtild be 
prepared to early out our much c herished de 
sires to their fullest 1 completion, and no doubt 
but we sometimes also built castles in the air 
which never matured, for we had, like others, 
to contend 1 with many of the disappointments to 
which flesh is heir in this life. 

In this wav we passed the months of winter, 
but at the same time we were always looking 
forward to and were making full preparations 
for our return in the spring. I had secured a 
very good yoke of oxen and a cow 
by exchanging a good, young horse and 
some harness for them. These were 
things that I did not at present, require, so 
I had to delay my return until the beginning of 
the manth of ! May, for we hoped that by that 
time the woods would provide pasture for the 
cattle in the shape of leaks and cow-cabbage, 
which grow in abundance everywhere in spring. 

William had returned some weeks before, and 
when he arrived at Sa ugeen and to lid our neigh 
bor, Mr. Wallace, that I was waiting to bring 
up some cattle, Mr. Wallace said that he was 
needing some also, and that he would go to 

85 



Guelph and meet me there and we could drive 
them together, and so we could assist each oth 
er on the way. In good time Mr. Wallace came 
to Guelph and met me there and soon after 
wards purchased what cattle he required. I think 
that he bought a yoke of steers and two cows, 
and just about this time Mr. James Scott, from 
near the Waterloo line, came to see me, and 
said that he wanted to go up with me and take 
u)p land at the Saugeen, and that he wished to 
accompany us and assist in driving the cattle. 
So, in a short time, we had made all necessary 
preparations for our journey. Our herd com 
prised eight head in all, two yoke of oxen and 
four cows. M r. Wallace and I eacji had the same 
number. It was in, the beginning of May when 
we again set off on olur long journey up to a 
new cojuntry, but we made very slow progress in 
our march, for the cows that Mtr. Wallace had 
got were in a very poior, lean condition and quite 
unfit to travel such a long distance, 
for we had not gone more than a 
day or two when one of them show 
ed signs of great fatigue from the contin 
uous toiling, and she would lay down on the 
roadside frequently to take a rest, so we had 
just patiently to wait with her until she felt dis 
posed to rise up and walk, and this was always 
trying to our patience, as we were all exceeding 
ly anxious to m ove o]n, for we found the wayside 
inn accomm pdatioln to be of a most undesirable 
kind. I will just describe a few instances as a 
sample of many. I do not know whether there 
were any licenses granted to sell liquor in thfose 

86 



days or not, but the places where such was sold 
were very plentiful all along the roa;d. I re 
member just on the top of the bank before cross 
ing- the river at what is now Mount Forest there 
was a small log house which ,had a sign of a bot 
tle and a glass, made by a coal upon a piece of 
board, whicji was nailed up just over tne door, 
and many of those places had no- conveniences 
or accommodation for travellers, yet Mr. Scott, 
so as to pass off the time during our frequent 
delays, would go into some of them and patron 
ize their establishments by indulging to a limit 
ed extent, when Mr. Wallace would use his 
powers of persuasion to dissuade him from suth 
a practice. But Mr. Scott got a good joke upon 
him, for as we were moving slowly along the 
road one evening near by the Township of Sulli 
van and just close by^tlie side of the road there 
stood a very small shanty, which had a sign u>p- 
on it with this inscription written, "Whiskey 
sold here by the wholesale, and just at this 
place Mr. Wallace s poor cow laid down and re 
fused to go any further. As it was getting to 
wards night Mr. Scott and I had to push on 
with the remainder of the cattle until we could 
reacfi some more commodious quarters, so after 
going about a mile further we came to another 
inn, and there we enquired if they had any hav 
for our cattle, and also if they could actommo- 
date us with supper and beds. We received an 
swers in the affirmative, and when we got the 
cattle put up for the night and went into the 
house for supper, I assure you it was a very 
primitive looking place, for as yet there were no 

87 



partitions in the house, an,d aroUfnd the chim 
ney comers of the large fire place there was what 
we used to call a grist, that is to 
say, several bags of flour and bran 
which had been lately brought from the 
mill, and these bags of flour were be 
ing usefcl for seats near the fire place. As we en 
tered the house we saw two women; one was 
quite busy preparing supper for us, and the oth 
er was sitting up,o<n o ; ne of the bags of flo ur, ap 
parently soundly sleeping. But presently she 
awoke and began to chatter away to herself, and 
this ma de the other woman feel ashamed, and 
she came and took her away outside for a while. 
But I noticed when she got up that the bag of 
flo*ir upon which she had been sitting and also 
Upon the floor it was qiuite wet. This sight had 
the effect of spoiling my supper that nig(ht, but 
it is quite possible that she had spilt either tea 
or tod dy upon herself. We spent a short time 
afterwards in common conversation and were 
then shown up the ladder to the loft, an^d there 
we found a very poor, hard bed, but such incid 
ents were nothing unusual in those days, so next 
morning we took breakfast an4 awaiteid Mr. 
Wallace s arrival with his lean cow. Then Mr. 
Scott told Mr. Wallace that he need never say 
anything mjore to him about going into taverns 
to drink, for he had shown that nothing would 
satisfy- him but staying at a place where whis 
key could be bought wholesale, but he, Mr. 
Scott, only occasionally bought it by the glass 
at retail prices. And then we soon got started 
off again at a slow pace and continued utntil we 

88 



reached within a few miles of Owen Sound, when 
we turned in through the Township of Derby by 
the new line of road, near a place that was call 
ed Ingles Mills, and through places that are 
now called Tara and Burgovne, and from 
there through to the Saugeen River, 
which we reache d after several long, weary days 
of travel, which we found very often to be very 
trying to our patience when compelled to endure 
so many enforced delays. 

Changes in the Country 

Upon our return from Guelph we found that 
since the comipletion of the survey of the town 
ship that there were riumbers of new settlers 
coming into the place, and amongst some of 
those that I remember were Messrs. John and 
Thomas Smith, brothers of Mr. Peter Smith, 
and also the Messrs. Bell, McGillivrav, Pilgrim, 
Goble, Parish and McLean and some others 
whose names I have forgotten at the present, 
and some of those who had gone back to their 
old homes in the fall did not return in the 
spring, and their places had been taken posses 
sion of bv new comers, and some ha)d left their 
farms an(d gone down to the village during the 
winter, and then had settled there, for bv this 
time manv of the most desirable lots had been 
taken up and, in a few cases, there arose some 
disputes regarding prior claims. But they were 
mostly always quickly settled without causing 
much trouble. 

Mr. Scott, who came up with me, worked for 

89 



a month or two with us, helping to log and 
clear up the land for spring crops, an)d then he 
selected a lot for himself down the river a few 
miles, and after he got a house erected in dtae 
time he got his family moved up and became 
a resident of that new country. I must not omit 
to relate an event that occurred during Mr. 
Scott s stay with us. About this time we had 
religions services held in a few of the houses by 
the Methodist minister, Mr. Hfatchihson, and a 
stu dent from Knox Presbyterian College, To 
ronto, and I was appointed the collector and 
treasurer, and Mr. Scott, who had rather too 
much conceit regarding his ability as a singer 
or leader of psalmody, was appointed precentor 
in the Presbyterian meetings, and these meet 
ings were generally pretty well attended by all 
the settlers that were near, or that could by any 
means attend such services, for the greatest of 
harmony prevailed amongst the different sects. 
But according to the denomination of the preach 
er, the singing was usually led by one of the 
same persuasion, and it so happened upion one 
occasion when Mr. Hutchinson was officiating 
that his leader, Mr. William Cunningham, was 
disabled from the effects of a cold, and ais Mr. 
Scott was present he was asked to lead in the 
singing during the service. Mr. Scott, without 
much hesitation, consented, when Mr. Hutchin 
son very considerately, and in order to make it 
easier for Mr. Scott, gave out the 23rd psalm, 
instead of a hymn, and so Mr. Scott, feeling the 
responsibility and importance of the position, 
began with his favorite old tune of Belerma, and 

90 



he had not gone very far before he was assisted 
by Mr. Cunningham, who was sitting beside 
him, and started off in the new quick style, while 
Mr. Scott continued in the old, slow fashion, so 
that when Mr. C. was at the end of the verse 
Mr. S. was only about half way. This made a 
great discoid of sounds and so they stopped and 
made a new start from the beginning, and this 
time it was even worse than the first attempt, 
for by this time Mr. Scott was getting quite 
neryotos and tremulous of voice. When he made 
the third attempt he got as far as "The lyoord 
is my shepherd," when he fairly broke down, 
with the exclamation, "I cannot manage it. I 
am fairlv beat, when the minister said, "Never 
mind. Let u& pray, and as soon as the meet 
ing was closed for that day Mr. Scott was aut 
and off like a reindeer, and never stoppejd to say 
good day to any one. I never heard him men 
tion his singing after that day. I may also say 
that my Sabbath collections during the season 
onlv amounted to something like four dollars, 
for it was not usiial to donate more than a cop 
per at each collection, and these preachings were 
conducted, both in village and country, wherever 
there was a house large enough to accommpdate 
a few people, and everyone was anxious to do 
all in their power to assist in making the ser 
vices both pleasant and profitable, and besides 
this there was a very strong temperance senti 
ment in the community amongst the leading 
class of the people. The agent, Mr. : Alexander 
McNab, was decidedly a strong leader of tem 
perance, and he gave every possible encourage- 

91 



ment to all good settlers of that class, and al 
though all were not strict teetotallers, yet he 
secured a very desirable class of settlers for Sau 
geen and the su rro unding townships, aind the 
fruits of their industry and perseverance are very 
visible to this dav, as seen in their fine, well- 
cleared up farms and substantial houses and 
barns. In the way of advancement and intelli 
gence the Coruntv of Bruce has not many equals. 
A number of the inhabitants are of Germ a^i and 
Scotch descent, and I am told that many 
who came into the county forty or fifty years 
ago and were then not worth more than forty or 
fifty dollars, are n ow worth as many thousands. 
So there was a continuous, steady progress 
made in the way of settlement and especially 
along the three leading roads, such as the Goder- 
ich rioad, wjhich ru ns through the Townships of 
Saugeen and Bru ee a little distance from the 
lake shore, and right through the centre of the 
village of Port Klgin. All this part was quickly 
settled and comprised a line section of country. 
The next aind most important line that was 
quickly settled was what was known as the 
Klora and Saugeen road. This runs through a 
splendid large section of farming country, be 
sides it passes through many important towns, 
such as Walkerton, Paisley, and some others of 
a little smaller dimension. I well remember the 
anxiety that was displayed by many to secure 
lots upon this line. Our old friend, the Rev. Dr. 
R. Toirance of Guelph, had asked us to secure 
him some lots and we selected a fine tract of 
land upon this road for him. I believe that 

92 



shortly afterwards these same lots became the 
property of Messrs. Craig, who still retain pos 
session of them. 

The third important line of road was that run 
ning through the Townships of Arran and Der 
by to .the Owen Souad road. TJiis was opened 
early in 1852 and several settled that season up 
on it all along by Invermay and Tara, but es 
pecially near by the corners, that is called Bur- 
goyne, there is a splendid settlement of well-to- 
do farmers, wh:o ha ve been settled there for 
many years. There is a f Presbyterian church at 
Burgoyne of considerable dimensions, and in 
which, the 1 Rev. Mr. Tolmie officiated for a great 
many years, for this is indeed a fine section of 
country for several miles around, and is settled 
by a superior class of farmers. I think that 
there is also ; a good large Methodist church in 
this place, but I have been a great miaay years 
absent from these parts and, therefore, will not 
attempt to further describe them, but will con 
fine my remarks to events that occurred in the 
days of the early settlement of the country, and 
with which I was more immediately concerned. 
I will here relate an incident that very closely 
concerned myself. It was some time about the 
middle of June, in the year 1852. There came 
an exceedingly great rain, causing the river to 
overflow its banks many feet, and it was coming 
down a rushing, mighty stream, so William and 
I thought the ground a little too wet to 
\vork upon pleasantly, and as we were needing 
some supplies of provisions, we would embrace 

the opportunity of going down to Southampton 

9:1 



to get some. We, as usual, took our little raft 
and crossed the river, an d after making it fast, 
we walked di,owti the river s edge uptitil we came 
to our neighbor, Mr. Wallace s, place, where we 
found him very busily engaged in cutting down 
and getting rid of all the timber that was with 
in reach of the water s edge, for as soon as it 
fell into the river it was carried away, botlv 
and brainches, an d by that means he was getting 
a piece of land cleared u!p witjhout much 
trouble, an\d as he was very anxious to get a 
piece of ground ready to sow with turnips, he 
asked as a faVor if o ne of us could not remain 
and assist him that day, as he wished to take 
advaJntage of the rise in the river. I consented 
to remain and help him with this work and Wil 
liam went oft to the village alo ; ne. And it so 
happened that there was a very large basswood 
tree wthich we felled into the river, but it was 
too far from the water to be carried right away. 
So Mr. Wallace and I tried to get it pushed off, 
but we were not able to do so, when Mr. W. 
said that he woiuld yoke up his steers and per 
haps they could move it, which would be much 
easier for us than lifting so heavily, and also 
that the cattle might be required much oftener 
now that the trees were further from the river. 
So in course of a little time Mr. Wallace came 
along with his oxen, which I must say were very 
untr act able and unaccustomed to the yoke, and 
hard to manage. But in time we succeeded in 
getting the chain hitched around the butt end of 
this big basswood tree, and, no sooner were the 
oxen attached to it, than they made a rush for 

94 



the river, and in spite of all our efforts to stop 
them, the tree was soon all afloat and with the 
oxen still attached to it, was rushing rapidlv 
down the river, the oxen making every effort to 
swim across to an island that was in the middle 
of the river. This had the effect of causing the 
top of the tree to be suddenly driven in towards 
the shore, when we. caught it by the branches 
and drew it towards the side for all that we were 
worth, and the oxen, which were getting pretty 
well exhausted by this time, were doing their 
best pulling against us, trying to reach the is 
land. There was nothing of them to be seen but 
the tips of their horns, and the ends of their 
noses out of the water; the chain had got over 
their backs and held them down in the water, 
which, caused them to moan piteously. But no 
sooner had the tops turned in towards us than 
we saw our opportunity, when we ran and caught 
hold of the branches and pulled it in such a way 
that Mr. W. got into the large limbs and crawl 
ed upon his hands and knees until t he at last 
reached the chain, when he managed to get it 
unhooked, and then crawled very cautiously, but 
speedily back to the branches, which I was hold 
ing on to with all my might, although I was 
drawn into the water nearly up to the waist, 
and in another moment or two would have been 
off my feet. I called to him to make all possible 
speed, and just as he got near enough to jump 
I felt myself being carried away, and called up 
on him to jump, which he did, and I caught him 
not a moment too soon, or he most certainly 
would have been taken away down with the tree, 

95 



or been drowned, for he could not swim more 
than a stone. The tree was soon carried away 
down the river towards the lake, and the poor 
oxen, after they had been released from the tree, 
managed to reach the island, and there they 
stood very fatigued looking. After resting our 
selves for a 1 short time and considering ..what 
would be the best way to get the oxen off the 
island, for we could not get along very well with 
out them now, I proposed that we make a light 
raft out of a couple of cedar rails, that were ly 
ing near at hand. So we got a hammer and 
some nails, and two short pieces of board. We 
nailed them together, and after furnishing my 
self also with a paddle, I got upon the slim 
raft and pushed out into the stream, but no 
sooner had I reached the swift current, than by 
my having to use more force to urge the raft to 
cross the stream, it parted in two, and I 
fell backwards into the water, and my frail craft 
floated down the river, but I succeeded in gain 
ing the shore, and after resting a few minutes, 
I said to Mr. Wallace, now that I was as wet as 
I could possibly be, I would go up the river a 
short way and swim in a slanting direction 
across to the island, before the swift current 
could carry me past. So I foolishly attempted 
to swim over with a pair of heavy cowhide long 
boots upon my feet, and a pair of worsted pants, 
with a leather belt around my waist. In I 
went and before I knew where I was, I was down 
within a few feet of the lower end of the island, 
just where the two currents meet, and I put 
forth all my strength in trying to reach the is- 

96 



land, but all to no purpose, for I could not gain 
an inch against such a current. At last my 
arms refused to move, and I went down feet 
first, until I touched the bottom, which was 
about twelve feet down at that place, and then 
gave myself a hard push upwards with my 
feet. This sent me up to the surface again, 
where I renewed all my efforts to reach the is 
land, which was so very near. Mr. Wallafce was 
going up and down the river s edge in great dis 
tress, being quite unable to render me any as 
sistance. My strength again failing me I 
went down to the bottom a second time, and in 
the same way, as I did at the first, I again gave 
myself a violent push upwards, which sent me to 
the top a second time, and most fortunately at 
tihis moment Mr. James Orr, who had just come 
up from Southampton, saw my perilous condi 
tion at once, and came running and calling to 
me to swim down the stream, and then ran up 
and got a cedar rail and pushed it into the wa 
ter as far as he could, and no sooner did I turn 
to go down with the stream than it gave me 
quite a rest, and I found it to be easy work be 
sides trying to go up against it. So, by the 
time the rail came down, I was within reach, 
and caught it, and pulling it under my arms, 
I paddled myself towards the shore, and it hap 
pened that there had been a tree stuck fast at 
some distance further down the river, and to 
that spot Mr. Wallace ran and climbed in am 
ongst the branches with a fishing pole. One end 
of it he reached out to me, and I caught it by 
the end, and by that means got pulled ashore. 



97 



But I was so exhausted that I could not stand 
for quite a while, but had to be laid upon the 
ground for some time to rest. But I quickly 
recovered sufficiently to go to the house and put 
on a dry shirt, and get some food, and while I 
was doing this, Mir. Orr, who was a good swim 
mer, divested himself of his clothes and swam 
over to the island and drove the oxen back 
again. By this incident I was taught a serious 
lesson. I may say that I never knew until that 
day how great and many had been the dangers 
and risks that we had passed through in cross 
ing and redrossing that river so often and 
sometimes even carelessly and thought 
less of danger, for although we were 
fairly good swimmers, yet if by any mis 
hap we fell into the middle of the river in our 
clothing and heavy boots, our chances of escape 
from drowning would be very few indeed. 

And upon the afternoon of this very day an 
incident occurred that I think is well worth re 
lating. About four o clock, a party of five 
men, belonging to a surveying company, had 
come up from Southampton, to where Mr. Wal 
lace and I were at work, and they anxiously de 
sired that I should take them across the river. 
But I did not care to run many more risks, for 
I had got about enough of the water for one 
day. I told them where they would find our 
raft, and that they were quite welcome to use 
it, but that they would require to make two 
trips, for the raft would only carry three safely 
over at once, and if three crossed over one could 
return with the raft and get the two that had 



98 



been left. In that way they could all pass over, 
and then tie up the raft on that- side, and my 
brother and I would find some other means of 
passing- over when we returned in the evening. 
But they insisted upon my going up to where the 
raft was tied up. So I accompanied them up 
the river to where the raft was, and when they 
saw it they were very much afraid, and would 
not venture upon it, but urged that I should 
take them over. I said that I had never been 
afraid of the river until to-day, and besides I 
did not feel able to undertake such hard work 
after what I had alreadv passed thlrough, and it 
would cause me to pass over three times at 
least, for the raft would not carry more than 
two besides myself. But I told them that there 
was the raft and if they wanted to cross over 
that they were very welcome to use it. At 
length three of the most daring got upon it and 
shoved out into the river, but no sooner did 
they reach the current than they, were swiftly 
turned about, and the raft began to sink deep 
down in the water. Fortunately they drifted 
into an eddy, and we again got them safe 
ashore. They had all got .wet up to their knees, 
besides receiving a bad fright, and they all turn 
ed sharply upon me and certainly they gave me 
anything but a blessing, and told me that that 
raft never carried three across that river, and 
that I was only trying to play a trick upon 
them, and deceive them, and that I did not care 
if they all got drowned. Upon this being said, 
I got upon the raft and called upon any two of 
them to get on and I would take them across, 

99 



just to prove to them what I had told them was 
true. In a little time two stepped on with me 
and I ferried them to the other side in safety, 
and returned with the raft. "Now you thxee have 
seen what I have done. Take the raft and ferry 
yourselves over." They said no, that they were 
afraid, but would give me a dollar to take them 
across. I said no, that I had taken a good 
many over at different times and never yet took 
a copper, and I did not feel like beginning to 
day, but if they wished they could take the 
raft and use it, and leave it on the other side, 
but I would do no more for them. So then one of 
the men declared that he w^ould sooner walk all 
the way up by the banks of the river until he 
reached the bridge at Walkerton, than cross the 
river on that raft. I told him to please him 
self about that, and leaving three upon one side 
and two upon the other, I bade them good after 
noon, and then returned down the river s edge 
to Mr. Wallace. When I told him what I had 
done, he said that I was not to be blamed, tak 
ing my experience of the former part of the day 
into consideration, and from what I had already 
passed through in crossing over with some that 
were in mortal fear of being drowned. The mind 
seems to have such a wonderful effect upon the 
body, that one would almost think that they 
had suddenly changed into a lump of lead, and 
in case of an accident such a one would be sure 
to grab hold of some one and prevent them from 
swimming, and the consequence would be that 
both would perish together. I will here relate 

another event that o ccurred to me some time in 

100 



the month of June, which I will never forget. It 
happened that along about this time we would 
have very frequent callers from people looking 
for land, and as a natural consequence the de 
mands upon our store of provisions were i; .uch 
heavier than they would otherwise have been. 
This caused us to make more frequent visits to 
Southampton for flour and other needful sup 
plies, so I volunteered upon this occasion to go 
to the village, for I rather liked to go to 
Southampton to see my friends, and hear the 
news, for at this time there was neither any 
established post nor paper, and reading matter 
was scarce in these quarters in those days. So 
I started one evening, for the days were long, 
although as yet there were no roads, but over or 
under fallen trees, and across creeks upon a tree 
cut for the purpose of crossing over upon, in 
stead of a bridge, and along by the lake shore 
on stepping stones, and by portage, to South 
ampton, which would be fully eight miles by 
these short cuts, yet I reached there when it was 
early in the evening. I got a bag of 100 pounds 
of flour and all in readiness for an early start 
home in the morning. After having tea and 
spending the night at the home of our good 
friend, Capt. Speixce, I awoke about daylight 
and put the bag of flour upon my back, hoping 
to reach home in good time for breakfast. I 
managed to get along very nicely for a time, un 
til I had gotten about half way, when my load 
of flour became very heavy and I had to take 
frequent rests, and I was so hungry and weak 

that when I put it down to rest I could scarce- 

101 



ly get it upon my back again, and as it got hot 
ter towards noon the weaker I became and the 
heavier the load grew. About noon I reached 
home perfectly tired out, and so I proved the 
old adage to be true in my case also. It was 
only a lamb when I started off with it, but it 
became a very heavy sheep before I got it home, 
and I never wanted to try another such experi 
ence, as carrying a bag of flour eight miles be 
fore breakfast. 

Along during the early part of this summer 
our old friend, Mr. George Butchart, commenced 
the erection of a saw mill upon what is known 
as Mill Creek, near to Port Elgin, a very much 
needed construction at that time, as so many 
people were moving into the country and requir 
ing lumber for building purposes, and as there 
was some good pine and other timber in this 
section the enterprise was a desirable one. In 
due time the preparations for the dam were 
made, and the timber framed and ready to put 
up. For by this time there were some framers 
and other mechanics in and around Southamp 
ton, where several houses were in course of be 
ing erected, and so the day came when all was 
in readiness for raising the saw mill, and al 
though the timbers were very heavy x there was 
an abundance of help. But the majority, of those 
present had never seen a frame building jput up 
in their lives, and they were as green and ignor 
ant of what to do as it would be possible to 
conceive. Although they were composed of a 
number of exceedingly strong men, yet the fram- 
er or contractor could do nothing with them. 

102 



They would stand in groups and talk, paying- no 
heed to what the framer said, for they did not 
know by name the one piece of timber from the 
other or where it should be placed. So the fram 
er had to give up in despair, after talking him 
self nearly hoarse. Just at this very moment 
there arrived a small party of men that had 
newly reached Southampton, and was told of a 
saw mill that was being raised that day, and 
they hastened out to the spot. Amongst the 
number was an active young man, a framer, 
from Orillia, and he said that he never yet had 
much trouble in managing the hands at a rais 
ing of a building, and that he would njot be 
afraid to take the men in charge and put up the 
building. Consent to let him try was willingly 
given by the contractor, so this young man 
mounted upon the top of a half-raised bent, 
there to harangue the people. After he had 
called them all to order and attention, he said 
that he wanted them all to keep silent and at 
tend to what he said. He knew that they were 
perfectly able to raise this building in short 
time, and he asked them all to lift together 
when he gave them the command to "Ye O, 
heave. Now are you all ready. Ye O, heave," 
and away the bent went up without a stop, as 
if it had been made of so many laths, for so 
sudden and unexpected was the move that the 
bent was taken clear away from under the poor 
fellow s feet in a moment, and he fell back 
wards astride of a man s shoulders, and down 
about sixteen feet into the mill race, striking 
his head against a beam at the bottom. He 

103 



never spoke, but only gave a quiver, but was 
soon carried up to the edge of the bank and ev 
ery available appliance was used in order to 
bring him around. It was some time before he 
gave much symptom s of life, and it took several 
weeks nursing before he was able to retuirn to 
his home again. This accident had the effect of 
casting a damper and depression over all pres 
ent foir a time, ,and when we did get to work 
again it was worse than it was before the acci 
dent, for none seemed to care to do anything. 
So then it was suggested that we try again by 
calling sides and see what effect that would have. 
I was asked to be one of the captains. I said 
that there were many older men here, I thought, 
who would do better than I, but was told they 
were without experience. I then i said if desired 
I would try and do the best I could to get the 
building up, and then, the people were all called 
together, and told what we were going to do. My 
opponent had a slight advantage over me, in be 
ing a carpenter himself. However, the choosing 
of sides turn about commenced, and, of course, 
I had to begin with my neighbors, Mir. Peter 
Smith and Mr. Pilgrim, and others, but I did 
not know the names of all present and I was 
assisted and directed in many cases at the in 
stigation of Mr. Smith, who knew them all, and 
when we got our sides completed I had as stur 
dy a lot of Highlanders as any one could wish, 
and the only trouble now was to keep them 
back. Two of them would take hold of a heavy 
piece of timber and run away with it, while be 
fore this six or eight men could scarcely man- 



104 



age to get it along, and when it came to raising 
the bents, we would have our side up and pinned 
before the others had theirs entered. This no 
doubt caused trouble and delay, for we often had 
to drive our pins out again before the other side 
could enter theirs. Notwithstanding all this, I 
could not keep them back, and the next bent 
would just be the same, and if they had been 
commanded to capture a fort or engage in a 
tug of war they could not have gone to work 
with greater will and determination to win. I 
may say that this saw mill served the purpose 
for which it was intended, and when timber be 
came scarce it was converted into a grist mill, 
and the site has been occupied for several years 
doing good service in that way. 

I have already stated in a former part of 
our experience as early settlers, what we had to 
endure and suffer from the plague of mice, and 
how we found things upon our return from 
Guelph in the spring of 1852. During Mr. James 
Scott s stay with us a rather laughable event 
occurred, which I think is worth relating here. 
Mr. Scott was rather what might be called a 
staid Scotchman, who had no bad opinion of 
himself, and he felt much annoyed at the depre 
dations of the mice, and so plentiful were they 
that every effort to overcome them seemed to 
be of little avail. This gave Mr. Scott full 
scope to exercise all the ingenuity of his inven 
tive powers to subdue them, and keep them 
within reasonable bounds, and it was almost im 
possible to keep anything eatable that thev 
would not find and destroy. The only places of 

105 " 



safety were our two round bake kettles or ovens, 
with close-fitting lids, and in these we had to 
store away our provisions, but these places of 
safety were not always available for that pur 
pose, for we generally made i our own bread 
from salt raisings or yeast of that material, anfd 
Mr. Scott was quite an expert in the making of 
bread of that description, which was very palat 
able, and, of course, had always to be very care- 
fullv kept from the ravages of the mice in the 
bake oven. So we had^ to make a strong, heavy 
box, and suspend it from the wall, with close- 
fitting door and shelves, and in this we put our 
eatables and groceries, such as bread, butter, su 
gar, tea, coffee, mustard, pepper, salt, etc. Con 
ceive of our consternation when we opened this 
cupboard door in the morning to see about a 
do zen of mice jump out of it, and then find, in 
stead of our provisions, a large mouse nest, 
made of cedar bark, and all the paper torn from 
our grocery parcels, constructed into a large 
nest, and our tea, sugar, coffee, pepper, mus 
tard, all mixed into a dirty confuted heap on 
top of our butter plate. We all felt like giving 
up in despair, but Mr. Scott said, that by all 
means, let us try to get a cat, for we cannot 
live with these destructive vermin over-running 
everything in this way. So it happened that 
my brother, William, was down at Southampton 
a short time after the above occurrence, and 
was telling some of our friends about the great 
annoyance that we suffered from swarms of 
mice, and said that he wished that they could 
direct him to where he could get a cat, when 



106 



some one said that they thought that they could 
find one far him. After some enquiries he got 
the offer of an ugly old torn cat,, which they 
would lend him for a while, but they also said 
that he was rather treacherous and a notorious 
ly bad 1 thief. However, William was glad to get 
anything in the shape of a cat, ,and brought him 
along, as he was told that he need not trouble 
himself greatly about returning the cat. 

We all received this ugly old cat as a welcome 
-visito)r, for we hoped that he would be able to 
deliver us from the awful tyranny to which we 
had been subjected by the plague of mice. But 
we were rather doomed to disappointment, for 
this old cat had no!t been many days in our pos 
session before James Scott took a very strong 
dislike and hatred towards him, and I suppose 
that he had plenty of cause and reason for this 
dislike, for I do not think that this cat posses 
sed one attractive or redeeming quality in its 
nature, for it did not seem to care to try and 
catch mice, but depended entirely upon sponging 
and stealing for a living.. So Mr. Scott s hat 
red became so intense towards that cat that he 
could nott see it without having something bad 
to say about it, and wished to be allowed to 
drown him in the river. We would ask him to 
have a little patience, for the cat was a. stranger 
in the place yet, but when he became acquaint 
ed with his sturtoundings that then he would 
take to his instincts and kill mice. But one day 
when we came to the shanty to get our dinner, 
the cat was left inside as usual to watch the 
mice when we went out to work in the morning, 



107 



so when we opened the shanty door out ran the 
cat, for he had knocked down a flat-iron that 
hung upon a nail on the wall, and it fell on the 
top of our largest bake kettle and broke the cov 
er in pieces, and as what we had intended for 
our dinner had been stowed away in the ket 
tle, the cat had eaten and destroyed it. The 
bake 1 kettle had unfortunately been left sitting 
directly under where the iron was hanging, and 
this proved a severe loss to us under the cir 
cumstances, as we had no means of replacing it. 
All this gave James a double plea in his object 
of drowning the cat, and James said "Surely af 
ter seeing what he had done you will allow me 
to drown him, for such a nasty, ugly, thievish 
brute should not be permitted to live another 
hour." We said, "Well, James, if you can catch 
him, after dinner, while you, are resting your 
self, you may take him down to the river and 
drown him. James received this permission 
with evident pleasuire, and just as soon as he 
had finished eating his dinner, he went out in 
search of the cat, putting on a very soft, 
persuasive, pleasant tone of voice to induce the 
cat to allow itself to be caught by him. At 
last he succeeded in capturing it, and taking the 
cat up in his arms, he said, "I have got you 
now, you old thief, and I ll soon put an end to 
you, you ugly brute. He carried him down 
to the river s edge. The cat, true to his in 
stincts, became alarmed at the sight of the wa 
ter, and struggled to get away, but when it 
found that it could not escape, as Mr. Scott had 
already gone into the water some distance, the 



108 



cat only clung the closer to him, and began to 
crawl up to his shoulders, and as Mr. Scott 
was a man over six feet in height, the cat at 
tained to some little distance above the surface 
of the water. When Mr. Scott had reached the 
deep, swift running current, and attempted to 
remove the cat from its perch, to complete his 
purpose, the cat seemed to be aware of his in 
tention and only clung the more tenaciously to 
his shoulders, sinking its claws deeply into his 
flesh through his thin cotton shirt. This had 
the effect of causing James to turn and quickly 
retrace his steps to the shore, wearing a very 
wry face, and with the cat still upon his shoul 
der. I said to him, "What is the matter, James, 
have you relented?" He said no, but that he was 
not able to take the brute off his shoulder. It 
had stuck its claws all so deep into him, and 
the more he tried to remove it the deeper it 
siink them into him and the tighter it clung to 
him. But as soon as he had gained the dry 
land the cat began to relax his hold and want 
ed to get down. James caught hold of him and 
held him tight, and then asked to be given a 
piece of cord or string, when he fastened one 
end around the cat s neck, and to the other end 
he tied a stone, and taking it down to the river, 
said, U I will fix vou this time, you ugly old sin 
ner," and when he thought that he had reached a 
suitable spot for the purpose, he threw the cat 
and stone with all force into the river. But, lo! 
to his disappointment, the stone went about 
twice as far into the water as the cat. It had 
slipped out of the string. The cat only went a 

109 



little way into the water an d swam ashore, and 
escaped in spite of Mr. Scott s efforts to pre 
vent it, and then made off to the woods, and we 
never saw any more of that cat. I have some 
times heard it said that cats were witches, or 
witches were cats. Whichever way it is I do not 
know, but one thing seemed certain, that this 
cat took the hint, and knew enough to keep 
away and never show his face around these quar 
ters while Mar. Scott remained near at hand. To 
many this story of the cat and mice may appear 
to be very trivial, but to us at that time it 
was a very significant and an important busi 
ness for us to know how we could overcome such 
a great nuisance as these mice had become, for 
it must be remembered that in those days and 
in that place we had no means of replacing those 
things that were destroyed, for the country was 
very different then from what it is at present. 
I will only add that there were other vermin be 
sides mice and much smaller than them, that 
were very plentiful in many houses in those days, 
which also were a great plague ,to many. I 
do not mean mosquitoes nor flies, although 
there were plenty of both of these pests. 

Story of Our Cattle 

I will give a little of our experience with the 
cattle that I took up with me. The oxen we 
found to be very useful and helpful during the 
time of logging and clearing up the land in the 
spring and early summer, but we found it some 
times very hard to keep track of them, for they 

no 



would often wander away through the woods for 
a great distance, and it was very difficult some 
times for us to find them, and when the cows 
calved it made matters much worse, for we had 
to allow the calves to run in the woods and suck 
their mothers, for we did not have any conven 
ience for the making of butter or of putting the 
milk to any profitable use, but we only required 
a little for domestic purposes, and this we were 
often deprived of, for it was seldom that we 
could find the cows when we wished to have 
some milk. Under the circumstances we did not 
find the keeping of stock either pleasant or pro 
fitable, in such a new country, and not until we 
had proper conveniences for pasturing and suit 
able buildings for wintering stock, was it found 
to be a profitable business. Wheat raising was 
the principal crop for several years for both the 
soil and climate were admirably adapted for its 
cultivation, and the price of wheat became very 
high during the continuance of the Russian 
war, which certainly had the effect upon that 
fine young country of giving it very material aid 
in its early start as a settlement during the fif 
ties. 

I will relate a circumstance that was of some 
importance to me personally, during the summer 
of 1851. I had sold the yoke of oxen that we 
took up with us that spring, and for which I 
was to receive the sum of eighty-five dollars 
from my late friend, Mr. McDonald, whose life 
was accidentally cut short by the sad wreck of 
his vessel, the "Saucy Jack," late in the fall of 
1851, and which sad calamity prevented him 



111 



paying me for the oxen, which he no doubt 
would have done had he been spared to return 
from Goderich in safety. However, as Mr. Mc 
Donald was so unexpectedly taken away, his 
business affairs were not well understood by any 
and so I was deprived of the money. But along 
about the first of July I was informed that there 
was to be a meeting of the creditors held in 
Goderich about the middle of July, so before 
that time I went to Southampton to meet Cap 
tain Spence, who was also going to Goderich on 
the same business, and was taking his little 
niece with him. So we all started in the morn 
ing in a small sail boat for Goderich, and when 
we got opposite to what is now Kincardine it 
was just about sunset. Then suddenly came up 
a thunderstorm, with a considerable squall of 
wind. Capt. Speuce at once lowered down the 
sails and said we must take to the oars and pull 
for the shore with all our might. This had the 
effect of frightening me considerably, for we were 
about ten miles out from shore. I immediately 
applied all my might and strength to the oar, 
in hopes of soon reaching land, but as darkness 
set in I could not see the shore, although I of 
ten asked the question, Plow far do you think 
are we from the shore, now? The answer I got 
was, Oh, pull away, we will soon be out of dan 
ger, you are doing very well. I said that 1 
hoped that it was not mulch further, that I was 
getting so very tired. But no shore did we reach 
until it was just getting daylight, when we 
drew in towards land. I asked Capt. Spence 
what place it was, and to my surprise he said 

112 



that it was Goderich harbor. Then I felt quite 
angry with Capt. Spence for keeping me rowing 
so hard all night, in order, as I thought, to 
avoid danger, when, in reality, there v/as very 
little to avoid. But his object was to reach 
Goderich harbor without losing time. My hands 
were blistered and my arms sore and tired from 
such continuous hard pulling, for I was under 
the impression that our safety depended upon 
our exertions. 

After landing I told him that I had gotten all 
I wanted of sailing in a small boat on the lake, 
and that rather than return with him I would 
walk all the way home, sooner than put in an 
other such night on the water. But Captain 
Spence only made light of my troubles and said 
that as soon as I got a sleep that I would be 
all right. However, as it was now daylight, 
we parted, leaving Capt. S. in conversation with 
some acquaintance that he met at the wharf, 
and although I had never been in Goderich be 
fore, I started to walk up town, looking for an 
open hotel doo.r. Soon I came to where there 
was a clean-looking place, where a maid was en 
gaged in sweeping the steps at the front door. 
I asked her if she thought that I could be ac 
commodated with a bed, for I had been on the 
lake all night. She said, Oh, certainly. Then 
she showed me into a room and asked if I wish 
ed to be called for breakfast. I said no, that I 
would rather sleep until dinner was ready. So 
I got a good rest, and was quite refreshed, and 
afterwards got up and enjoyed a good dinner, 
which made me feel, as Capt. Spence had said, 

118 



that I would be all right. I then started off 
down the street in search of my friend, Spence, 
from whom I had rather uncivilly parted in the 
morning, thinking that I had been a little im 
posed upon through my ignorance of sailing, for 
I had never had much practice in that line on 
the lake. 
But I had scarcely reached the street corner 

j 

when, to my surprise and I must say pleasure 
also, I was accosted by a young lady, Miss 
Gooding, whose acquaintance I had the pleasure 
of making on the preceding summer, while she 
was a visitor at the home of Capt. Spence in 
Southampton. I asked her then if she had seen 
anything of the Captain, and she said that he 
was at their house when she left home, and then 
she kindly invited me to accompany ner home 
and spend the afternoon with them, and remain 
for tea. I willingly accepted this kind invita 
tion, and was richly rewarded, for I do not 
think that I ever put in a more pleasant and 
happy afternoon, and, afterwards I spent a most 
genial and happy week in Goderich, lor during 
our stay there we were all invited to make the 
comfortable house of Mrs. Gooding our home, 
and I found it to be a delightful change from 
what I had latelv experienced in our shanty life 
on the Saugeen River. 

I do not think that our creditors meeting 
came to mulch. I know that all I got for my 
share was a bag of flour, which I took home 
with me. There was a quantity of damaged 
store goods sold by auction, but I don t think 
that they all amoulnted to much, as they were 

iu 



badly damaged by fire, for the whole of Mr. 
McDonald s stock was supposed to have been ac 
cidentally burned at Southampton the preceding 
winter. After spending a very delightful time 
in Goderich, which I thought to be a very pretty 
place, and after receiving a promise from Capt. 
Spence that he would not. ask me to row again, 
and that he would not start out without having 
the prospect of a fair wind, notwith 
standing my former protestations, I was per 
suaded to venture again in that boat. One fine 
morning with a favorable wind we set oil, but 
by noon the wind had ceased and there was a 
calm, and we then made very slow progress, and 
as we were near to what is now Kincardine, we 
made for the shore, and ran a little way up 
into the month of a creek or river, for the 
night remaining in the boat, and covering our 
selves with the sails. I do not think that there 
were more than one or two small fishing shanties 
at Kincardine at that time. It was a very new 
looking place, a^id I could not see anything of 
it, but by daylight there had sprung up a brisk 
favorable wind and we again set off full sail up 
the lake in good speed, and when we got oppo 
site to what is now Port Klgin, which we soon 
reached, Captain S. put me and the loo-pound 
bag of flour ashore, and then ran up to South 
ampton in short time. I put the bag upon my 
back and started thorough the woods for home, 
but when I reached the creek where the saw mill 
was being erected there were several men at 
work at the new dam, so when I arrived where 
thev were they took possession of my bag of 

115 



flour and would not allow me to .carry it any 
further, but said that they would bring it home 
to me after they quit work at night, which they 
kindly did. Thus ended my first trip upon the 
waters of Lake Huron, and how very greatly ev 
erything has changed since those pioneer days, 
I will not even attempt to describe. 

Some time after my return from this trip to 
Goderich and during our usual monotonous life 
in clearing up the land, we unexpectedly receiv 
ed an urgent letter from our father, a short time 
after harvest, requesting that either William or 
I would at once return back to the old home 
and take charge of the farm, for he was getting 
well up in years and he found that the care of 
managing the farm was too much for him, and 
that he was not able now properly nor profit 
ably to conduct the work, especially as he had 
now to depend almost entirely upon hired help. 
So now William and I consulted earnestly and 
very seriously over this matter and finally came 
to the conclusion that it would be, all things 
considered, the proper thing for one of us to do, 
and after deciding upon this course, we each 
agreed to give ulp our present claim to the two 
lots of land to the one that remained for the 
sum of one hundred pounds, to be paid out of 
the portion of the old homestead when divided, 
and which we would be entitled to receive as 
our 1 portion of the same when a settlement was 
finally made. After settling all these matters 
between ourselves satisfactorily, the next and 
most important business was to decide who was 
to go, and which of us was to remain, and as 



116 



we were both seemingly willing- to be guided by 
the wishes of the other we could not decide, and 
to settle the matter we agreed to cast lots. Af 
ter a fair trial it came to my lot to go back to 
the old home of our youth, and where I had al 
ready spent twenty years of my early life. I 
was glad indeed to return to it, where I could 
enjoy more of the social comfort/s of life, yet I 
felt very sorry to go away and leave all alone 
in this place my elder brother, from whom I had 
never been long parted for over twenty-four 
years. Our lives had been very closely bound 
together, and we had been as one in all our joys 
and sorrows hitherto, and I felt very sad indeed 
at the thought of parting from him, for I never 
knew until that time how greatly we were at 
tached to each other, and I felt like backing out 
of the arrangement, for I felt that it was an act 
of cruelty for me to go away and leave him by 
himself like a hermit in the wilderness. But he 
seemed not to mind it, but looked upon the mat 
ter in a brighter way, and was quite reconciled 
to his circumstances. Of course hope is a great 
encourager and gives strength to endure great 
and hard trials, and causes u,s to 1 see the bright 
instead of the dark side of things, and I will here 
add that our separation from this time became 
nearly final, for in the spring of 1854 I entered 
into arrangements with my father and the other 
members of the family to buy out all their 
shares and interest in the old homestead, and 
which agreement I carried out to completion 
and became sole proprietor of the old home in 
Paisley Block, Guelph. 

117 



I just wish to say before closing that iiry bro 
ther, William, who took such a conspicuous and 
a,ctive part in all the adventures and vicissi 
tudes incidental to early settlement in a new 
country, is still alive and although in his 77th 
year, continues to enjoy fairly good health, and 
is now retired from active farming and living 
in a comfortable home in the village of Tara, 
and is surrounded by many comforts. His fam 
ily are nearly all married and comfortably sit 
uated and doing well fotr themselves. 

In a short time after concluding those very 
important arrangements with my dear brother, 
William, I began to make preparations for my 
return to the old home at Guelph. But at the 
same time I must confess that it was not with 
out some feelings of regret that I had been call 
ed upon to leave my new home on the banks of 
tlhe Saugeen River, where I had purposed mak 
ing my home in the future, and where I had hop 
ed to spend many years of my life in comfort 
and peace, notwithstanding that much of my 
past experience dujring my short residence in 
this place had so very much more of the bitter 
than the sweet in its composition. Such is life 
everywhere; and when we have youth and hope 
on our side many of these seeming difficulties 
can be overcome, for I had already formed many 
plans and purposes, which I hoped to see com 
pleted in the near future. I have no doubt now 
but many, if not all of them, would have turned 
out to be only castles built in the air, which 
never would have matured. So one morning af 
ter I had got all in readiness for my return to 



118 



Gnelph, I made a start for the Owen Sound 
road, bringing nothing back with me but the 
yoke of oxen and one cow, leaving all else with 
William, for OUT experience with the cattle was 
that without proper conveniences for their care 
and management that the trouble with them 
was more than they were worth, for when we 
wanted them we never knew where they were to 
be found, and we lost a good deal of time in 
seeking them for they would wander away 
many miles through the woods, apparently very 
desirous to return to where they came from. So 
on my return to Guelph with them I found that 
they were very little trouble to drive, but seem 
ed to know where they were going, and travel 
led right along at a good pace, so that I reach 
ed what was then called the California Inn, on 
the Owen Sound road, the first evening. I be 
lieve that the place is now called Chatsworth. I 
remained there for the night, and the next morn 
ing before leaving I was induced to purchase 
one or two more animals at a cheap figure, for 
cattle seemed to be plentiful and money very 
scarce, for by the time I had reached the old 
home I had aidded still a few more to my num 
ber. I was convinced that there was money to 
be made in this line of business, so after my re 
turn to Guelph, and with the assistance of some 
friends, was enabled to spend most of my spare 
time engaged in buying cattle and sheep during 
the fall and winter of 1853. 

It happened that in about a month or six 
weeks after I had left the Satigeen and my bro 
ther William by himself, word was sent to his 

119 



mother that he had met with a serious accident 
while chopping, by cutting one of his feet badly 
with his axe, and that he would be completely 
disabled for some time and quite helpless and 
dependent upon others. However, in the mean 
time, his good neighbor, Mrs. Peter Smith, was 
attending to his wants, and had him removed to 
her own home and there she was nursing him. 
All this made my mother feel extremely anx 
ious and as it was not possible for her to go to 
him herself she thought the next best thing to 
do was to send our eldest sister, a girl of about 
fourteen years of age, so that she might wait 
upon him and attend to his wants until he 
would be able to get around again. So I was 
asked by my mother to .take Hannah up the 
Saugeen to look after William, and I at once 
agreed to the proposition, and got a horse and 
buggy and we immediately started off and by 
the evening of the second day we had reached 
the new line of road by which I had a few 
weeks previously driven out the cattle. This 
road, as yet, was in many parts cmly a blamed 
line, although in places it was chopped but not 
logged up, and was quite impassable with a 
horse and buggy. So we were compelled to 
leave these behind, and travel the remainder of 
the way by foot. We had to pass through the 
new Townships of Derby and Arran, and then 
through a portion of Saugeen, a very long walk 
for a young girl, besides it was over a very 
rough road. Poofr thing, she became very tired 
before we got through, and I had to persuade 
and encourage her to persevere. She would of- 

120 



ten ask me if it was much further. I would say 
that it was only a little distance now, and it 
was always growing less, and she would then 
cheerfully struggle on, for she was really a 
noble girl in every sense of that word, and had 
inherited many of her mother s excellent quali 
ties, both in temper and disposition. While thus 
speaking of my sister, Hannah, here, I can add 
that she continued to manifest very greatly that 
self-sacrificing disposition during her short life, 
for at the request of her father and mother she 
sacrificed all her personal prospects and ambi 
tions here, and went to Scotland to take care of 
an old widowed aunt, where she faithfully wait 
ed upon the old lady for several years. But she 
took ill and died at the home of her aunt, Bal- 
beg Cottage, Ayrshire. 

However, in returning to the original story, 
I may sav that Hannah and I finally reached 
the shanty just before it got quite dark. s She 
wa^s very tired. I do not think that she could 
have gone another mile. We found William as 
well as we could have expected under the cir 
cumstances, and very pleased to see us both, and 
we all enjoyed our meeting together again very 
much. I was sorry to have to go away from 
them so soon, but could not help it, for I had 
left the horse and buggy on the way, and had 
to return to them at once. So, after spending 
a short time with William, I had to return, 
leaving his sister with him to look after and 
take care of him for a short time. I have often 
thought since of what a miserable, lonely time 

she must have had, cut off from all .companion- 

121 



ship and social society. At her age it must have 
been very trying, indeed, but I never heard that 
she made any complaint, but accepted it as a 
natural consequence and just what she expected 
to find ,in such a place. 

After leaving the Saugeen I soon reached the 
Owen Sound road and got my horse and buggy 
and returned in safety to Guelph. I do not 
remember of anything of importance to relate 
during my return journey. I was soon engaged 
again in my usual occupation, and in buying 
cattle and sheep, which I found sometimes to be 
quite a profitable occupation, but it required 
both capital and experience to make it a suc 
cess. 

And again in the first month of winter I drove 
to Owen Sound with a pair of horses and a 
sleigh for the purpose of bringing home my sis 
ter and Wiljliam, and I took up with me as far 
as Owen Sound, a Mr. Riddle, a school teacher, 
who was also a son-in-law of the late Thomas 
Ivandlanks, .Ksq., manager of the Gore Bank in 
Guelp h. This gentleman was going up to settle 
in this new district, and I was told that he af 
terwards settled in or near to Invermay. I af 
terwards brought baqk my sister, Hannah, and 
William, for he wanted to come down and spend 
the winter amongst his old friends and acquaint 
ances around Guelph. And this ended what 
was my sixth trip up. to that new country in 
less than two years time, so I had become well 
acquainted with the road, and with many of the 
people on the way. 



122 



Very shortly after I left the Saugeen valley, 
during the fall of 1852 and spring of 1853, there 
were very many changes taking place in the set 
tlement of the country, for there were quite a 
number of new settlers taking up land and oth 
ers were buying out some of the original occu 
pants. These changes were very visible, not only 
throughout the Township of Saugeen, but all 
over the new country. I will only mention a 
few among the many desirable settlers that came 
in, mostly from Waterloo County, and settled in 
and around what is now Port Klgin. There were 
the Messrs. Stafford, Schantz, Bricker, Hover, 
Hilker and Rhuby, besides many others, and 
very quickly did they convert the vast forests 
into fruitful fields, for these people brought both 
experience and capital with them. And to-day 
much of the fruits of their early labors can be 
seen in the fine cleared-up farms, with large 
barns and comfortable dwellings, and nowhere is 
this thrift more observable than in the pretty, 
clean, well-kept village of Port Klgin, which is 
now greatly in advance in ,many ways of places 
that are very much older, for it was only in the 
summer of 1853 that my younger brother, A. H. 
R., came up to Port Elgin and bought out a 
new house that was then being erected for a 
store by Mjr. Samuel Bricker, and there he after 
wards commenced business, and kept the first 
general store und post office in that place until 
several years afterwards when he sold out 
the business to Messrs. Rhuby and lyehennan, and 
again returned to Guelph for a time, and started 
business there. But once more he sold out and 

123 



removed ,to Minnesota, and has carried on farm 
ing in that state for several years, and still con 
tinues there in that occupation. In the month of 
September, 1855, my next brother, John C., 
came up to Port Elgin and bought four lots 
from Mr. Hilker, and then put up a house. Then 
lie established the first wagon maker s shop in 
the country, where he made the two lirst wag 
ons that were made in the County of Bruce, and 
where, after a residence of over fortv -seven 

- 

years, he still continues to reside. Although he 
may be said to have practically given up busi 
ness he still employs his leisure hours in his 
old shop doing little repairings when his health 
will permit him to do so, and which I am glad 
to say that in general is very good for a man 
of over 72 years. He is also the possessor 
of a very comfortable, desirable home, surround 
ed with many pleasant, social comforts, and a 
competency sufficient to enable him to spend his 
remaining days in ease. 

I remember that I came up with my brother, 
A. H. R., who had started store-keeping in Port 
Klgin, and we brought up two sleighs loaded 
with store go/ods from Hamilton, which, at that 
time, was the chief emporium for goods, and I 
liad the honor also of being asked by Mrs. Peter 
Brown to bring uip with me her sister, a young 
lady also from Hamilton, whose society I great 
ly enjoyed, for the more pitchy and rough the 
road was and the harder it stormed and snowed, 
the lou der she would laugh, although at times 
the wind and cold was almost unendurable. She 
would only laugh and say, Is not that a great 



124 



breeze? And the snow was so deep and the 
roads so heavy that it took us a day longer 
than we expected, and instead of getting to Port 
Elgin on Saturday, it was Sunday evening be 
fore we reached that place, for we had also the 
experience of an occasional upset as we passed 
through the new road from the Owen Sound 
line. After unloading the goods at Port Klgin 
the next day I drove over to Southampton and 
left Miss B. with her sister, Mrs. Brown, and it 
was at that time that I had the pleasure of giv 
ing the Southampton ladies that much spoken 
of and appreciated sleigh ride. 

Another event which I yet remember in refer 
ence to this trip was that I had put into Mr. 
Stafford s hotel stable two span of horses for 
two nights, and that he charged me eight dol 
lars for hay and stabling of the horses. Hay 
was very dear and scarce at that time. 

I have made frequent visits since that time to 
this part of the country and have always been 
greatly impressed and pleased with the steady 
and continuous progress that has been made 
since those pioneer days. 

Copy of a letter received from Captain John 
Spence of Southampton, this 24th day of Octo 
ber, 1902, in reply to questions asked by me, 
and to which he gives the following answers : 
That he started from Kingston in the sum 
mer of 1848, in company with Captain William 
Kennedy, and they came to Toronto in the 
steamer Magnet, Capt. Sutherland. Then they 
took stage to Holland Landing, Lake Simcoe, 
took the steamer Beaver to Orillia, stage from 

125 



there to Sturgeon Bay, bought a canoe and came 
down the Severn River, took the steamer at 
Fenetanguishene, thence for Owen Sound, and 
took our canoes round to Colpoys Bay, which is 
near Wiarton, carried our canoes to the Sobble 
River and thence to this place. "My intention 
was to find a place convenient for fishing and 
Indian trading, and this place suited me. The 
only white men I found here \vere the Rev. Mr. 
Williston, Indian missionary, and Mr. James 
Cathay, teacher. 

"I started and built the first house that ever 
went up in this pla;ce. I became acquainted with 
the late John McLean, Esq., about the year 
1840. I knew him when we were in the Hudson 
Bay service. I first met his nephew, Alexander 
McDonald, in Goderich in 1849. George Butchart 
and James Orr came up shortly after I came 
here, and with them I made arrangements to go 
into the fishing. But when Captain Kennedy 
left to go in search of Sir John Franklin these 
arrangements were broken up. Mrs. Butchart 
was the only white woman in this place in 1850. 
Mr. Chisholm Millar surveyed part of the Town 
ship of Bruce. Mr. Brough took a cold and died, 
leaving his work unfinished, which w T as complet 
ed by Mr. Millar. 

"Mr. and Mrs. Peter Brown came here in the 
summer of 1851, and some years afterwards re 
moved up to the Sault Ste. Marie, and they both 
died there." 

In conclusion, I will just say that possibly I 
have omitted to mention some incidents that 
anight have been much more interesting than 



126 



many here related, but I have truisted altogeth 
er to my memory, for my desire is to give a 
truthful statement of events as they occurred, 
and I have also tried to avoid all semblance of 
fiction. 

I will here relate a few of the incidents that 
occurred in connection with our settlement in 
the Paisley Block, in the fall of 1830. My father, 
soon after arriving- in Guelph, selected a lot of 
the Canada Company s lands in the Township 
of Guelph, and then contracted with a Mr. Mac- 
Donald, who had some little experience in the 
art of building log houses in those days of early 
settlement, and for such service he and his as 
sistants were to receive four shillings or one dol 
lar and a bottle of whiskey each, per day. Such 
were the usual wages paid, and the custom of 
the country in those times. So one day my 
father went to see what progress was being 
made in the erection of the house, and after ar 
riving there he soon became very much interest 
ed on seeing the men chopping down the trees, 
for he had never seen anything of the kind done 
before, and was quite ignorant of the danger at 
tendant upon the cutting down of timber, so he, 
instead of keeping well out of the way of dan 
ger, got right into it, and was struck and knock 
ed down by a falling tree, which broke one of his 
legs a little below the knee. The men had to 
make a kind of handbarrow and carry him home 
to Guelph, and then send all the way to Hamil 
ton for a doctor, and in a day or two Dr. Mac- 
Kelcan arrived and set the broken limb, but it 
was crooked always afterwards, being so long 



127 



before the bone was set. This unfortunate acci 
dent confined father to the hoftise for several 
weeks, and also prevented him from assisting or 
taking an active part in hastening forward to 
completion the new house, which was intended so 
soon to become our future home in the woods, 
and it was quite late in the faill when we could 
remove, and not having any experience of what 
a Canadian winter meant, insisted upon remov 
ing his family ait that late season of the year 
out to a half-finished house in the woods, for my 
father, owing to the accident, was forced to de 
pend entirely upon hired help in the erection of 
the house, arid the work was not always done in 
a proper or substantial way. For example, a 
log house required to have a part or two or 
three of the bottom logs cut out at one end of 
the building and the space built up with stone 
and mortar to form a back wall for a fire place, 
and this new house had one of very large dimen 
sions built up with this material, which had be 
come frozen. But when there was a large fire 
built u)p against it in order to warm the cold 
ho v use the very first night, just as soon as the 
frost thawed ojut of the mud plaster the whole 
of the back wall fell down, which made an open 
space large enough to admit the prowling wolves 
which were prowling all around the house, as if 
just looking for some place to get in. My moth 
er would sometimes speak of the first night 
spent in her new home in the woods, when she 
lay all night quiaking with fear and shivering 
with cold, ex/pecting every moment to hear the 
wolves enter and devour her little children. So 

128 



terrified were all present that they dared not at 
tempt to get up and make any repairs, but re 
mained in bed until daylight, for they were in 
such mortal dread of the wolves that they were 
afraid to speak, or even stir, for fear of attract 
ing them. But when doming came some assist 
ance was procured, and the breach in the wall 
repaired. But before many weeks had passed 
the snow became nearly foair feet deep, which 
made travelling difficult, and although sur 
rounded by woods it was no easy matter always 
to procure a sufficient supply, owing to the great 
depth of snow, for when a tree was cut down it 
would sinjk oiut of sight in the soft snow, which 
had first to be shovelled away before it could 
be cut, and so aw kward and inexperienced were 
they at using an axe that a good ch ojpper would 
cut more woold in one hour than they could in 
ten, and so great was the ignorance and preju 
dice possessed at first by many of the old coun 
try immigrants, that they would only use their 
old style of a broad axe that they had brought 
from the old country with them, and very few 
knew how to use an axe of any kind, but would 
hack all around a tree, just like as if it had been 
gnawed down by a beaver. I can yet remember 
seeing my father anjd mother carrying in the 
wood upon a handb arrow, after they had shov 
elled a narrow path through the snow to where 
the wood had been cut, and often my brother 
William and I wcrtild follow them out by the 
narrow way, that stood up like two high walls 
on either side, so that we could not see over the 
top, and when we would meet them returning 



with the loaded; barrow, we had to turn back 
and run to the house, for there was no way of 
passing, and it would keep my father and mother 
pretty well employed to furnish a sufficient sup 
ply of wood to keelp up anything- like a comfort 
able heat, for the house was in a very unfinished 
condition during the first winter. I will try to 
describe it in part, just as I can remember it. Its 
size was 20x26 feet, built of round logs, one 
storey and garret in height, but without flooring 
above, with a large round hole dug in the centre 
for a cellar, witih about one-half of the ground 
floor covered by boards, the other piart open over 
this hold of a cellar. A heavy carpet was hung 
across from side to side just at the edge of the 
floor, to form a partition; and also a slight pro 
tection from this cellar. But I remember that 
it frequently happened that when some of us 
small boys got a little out of temper that we 
would often run to this carpet to sulk or pout, 
and forgetting ourselves we would lean too heav 
ily against this carpet, which would cause it to 
slack back a little, when down we would go 
plump into the cellar, out of sight in a moment, 
so that this hole soon became a great dread to 
us boys. Now, this house that I am describing 
may be considered a very fair average sample of 
the homes enjoyed by many of the early settlers 
in those days, but I have often thought since of 
the sad change it must have been to my father 
and mother, and many others also, who had so 
lately left homes of comfort and even luxury, 
and who were now compelled to suffer in a new 
land such unexpected privations and discom- 



130 



forts as they were then enduring. Sometimes 
we were for weeks without bread and ha d to 
subsist upon potatoes and turnips, and these 
were very often frozen during winter. I can re 
member well seeing my mother putting the pota 
toes into cold water to draw the frost out of 
them before being cooked, and then we had nei 
ther meat, milk nor butter to eat with them. 
The labor of clearing the first acres of unbroken 
land was all performed by the settlers w r hen 
they subsisted entirely upon pptatoes as a diet, 
baked and boiled time about, by way of change 
or variety, with sometimes a dish of greens 
made from cow cabbage or the tops of young 
turnips, were added when in season. All this 
may seem strange when I tell you that the for 
ests abounded with various kinds of game, and 
the creeks were full of speckled trout, yet it 
rarely happened that the settlers succeeded in 
capturing any deer. But the Indians that came 
u p from the Credit in the fall of the year would 
kill deer by the dozen, and it was at such times 
that the settlers, if they had any money at all, 
could get a chea p supply of venison from the In 
dians, for I can yet remember, although my fa 
ther was a sportsman in the old country, yet he 
would never venture into the woods to shoot 
deer for fear of getting lost or of being attacked 
by the wolves or bears, and so timid were the 
people that they would not venture outside of 
the. house after dark, for in the evening the deer 
would come around the house in droves to get 
aw r ay from the wolves, which could be heard 
howling in every direction, arid my father, who 

13 L 



had a good rifle, would quietly open a window 
sufficiently to get the point of his rifle out, and 
then shoot at a deer, and if it was wounded it 
would only run a short distance, when it would 
be caught an;d devoured by the wolves in a few 
minutes, so that nothing of it could be seen but 
the blood-stained snow, so that my father s ef 
forts to obtain a supply of venison were worse 
than useless, yet the deer were very plentiful. I 
can remember when I was a very small boy of 
sometimes coming across herds of more than 
twenty in a flock, when the old bucks would 
shake their heads, stamp their feet, and snort 
at me, and I would have to stand still and clap 
my hands together and make, all sorts of noises 
to frighten them so that I might pass them safe 
ly, and I have seen packs of wolves in the woods 
and even in the clearing during the day, for they 
would often kill sheep for us and even attack 
young cattle. 

Bears 

I have also got into unpleasantly close quar 
ters with bears when it was too dark to see 
them, for they will not run from you like a wolf, 
but they will very seldrnn attack a person if 
left alone and, not interferred with, except when 
they are hungry or in defence of their young. 
They are very fond of pork and will catch and 
kill pigs when they find them in the woods seek 
ing beechnuts. The bear is also destructive on 
grain, especially oats, just before they get ripe. 
I can remember when very young that my father 

332 



had sown a small field of oats near to the house, 
atfd just after they had come out into ear, that 
a large bear would come almost every day and 
feed upon them. He would sit an,d gather the 
grain all around him with his paws and then eat 
the tops off, and sometimes he would lie down 
and roll the oats flat to the ground and then eat 
his iill. When we little boys would try to frigh 
ten him awav by making a great racket bv 
knocking upon old pans and making other 
sounds, he would sit an d look at us quite 
unconcerned for a time, apparently eyeing us 
with utter contempt, for we always had to re 
main at a very respectful distance from him, 
but as we kept up our noise he at length would 
move oft leisurely to the woods, and go a short 
distance, and then climb up a tree and remain 
there until we had made a hurried retreat to the 
house, when he would slowly come down and re 
turn again to the oats, for we were strictly cau 
tioned bv oiur father and mother to keep away 
an,d not go near him. We then considered discre 
tion to be the better part of valor, and left him 
to enjoy his feed of oats in peace, but the result 
was that the oats were all completely destroved 
in a short time. 

But seventy years or more have wrought very 
great changes, both upon the appearance o! the 
country and its inhabitants, for it was in the 
year 1832 anld the few following seasons that a 
great many immigrants arrived and settled in 
and around G uelph and the neighboring town 
ships, and some of them brought a considerable 
amount of money with them, while x many were 

l:;:; 



tradesmen and laborers, who mostly all proved 
to be a very desirable, class of settlers, although 
at first many of them were exceedingly green re 
garding the requirements of a new wooded coun 
try. Many laughable and funny stories are told 
concerning s ome of their doings. 

I will just mention one case as a sample of 
the mainy, to give some idea of the annoying 
stupidity and want of experience displayed by 
many of the new comers. About the year 1836 
there arrived an immigrant with a young fam 
ily, from the north of Ireland, who had been a 
linen weaver in the old country, and as he had 
a friend here who haid been settled upon a farm 
of his own (near by ours) for several years, he 
came to him upon his arrival, and got permis 
sion to build a shanty upon his land and move 
his family into it, until he found a lot for him 
self, for by this time most of the land had been 
taken up in the immediate neighborhood. His 
friend agreed to give him employment during his 
stay at chopping and clearing up lan d. So, af 
ter he had got everything settled and in order, 
he was then provided with a new axe and handle, 
and he started out one frosty morning to com 
mence his work at chopping down the forest 
trees, but it so happened that his friend had to 
go to Guelpih that morning with his oxen and 
sleigh, and on his way passed near by where 
this green;horn was cutting down a beech tree, 
and after being gone several hours, on his re 
turn, saw him still pounding away at the same 
tree, when he called to him, "What, have you 
not got that tree down y^t, Hugh?" v No T and 

134 



troth I ve, been working till I am all wet with 
sweat, but the wood has got so hard froze that 
the, axe won t cut it at all. "I/et me see the 
axe, Hugh. Man dear, the whole of the steel 
has broke out of it. Did you not see that? 1 
"Troth, an I never looked at the axe, for I 
thought it was the frost that was making the 
tree so hard to cut, and I was thinking that 
chopping" was very slow work here in the win 
ter. Such were the beginnings. 

Yet, notwithstanding these drawbacks, in a 
few years some of the most thrifty of the set 
tlers possessed a yoke of oxen and a sled, also a 
cow or two, and a few hogs, which fed mostly 
u pon beechnuts. These, with a quantity of 
fowls, kept the larder better supplied with such 
varieties as beechnut-fed pork, eggs, very leaky 
milk and butter, maple sugar and molasses. 
These, with potatoes, constituted the principal 
food of the settlers in those days. Money was 
very scarce, and when we could sell eggs at three 
pence per dozen we thought it a good price. But 
these days and these pioneers Lava all passed 
from the changing scenes of this world, having 
served their d>ay a\nd generation. But to them 
and their successors, all honor and credit is due, 
for having changed a dense forest into a fruitful 
garden, and the haunts of the wolf and the bear 
into Iiomes of peace and plenty, occupied by a 
refined, intelligent and educated people, both in 
city and conmtry, who are also in the enjoyment 
of many of the modern improvements of an ad 
vanced civilization.